Little Athletics NSW COVID-19 Updates

Little Athletics NSW is closely monitoring the ongoing developments regarding to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and will post all relevant updates from Little Athletics New South Wales &  Little Athletics Australia on this page.

29/03/2020: Little Athletics NSW Update

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on every sport and sporting body across Australia. Although the impact on Little Athletics has (so far) been significantly less than it has on many winter sports, we have by no means been immune, and it is therefore not surprising, that just like every other sport, there is a growing desire amongst our members to be able to ‘return to play’.

While everybody wants to get back to sport as quickly as possible, the safety and wellbeing of participants, their families, and the broader community must always remain the number one priority. As such, we must ensure that when we are permitted to return to Little Athletics activities for the 2020/21 summer season, we do so in a safe, controlled, and compliant manner.

Since the end of March, we have been in regular contact with the NSW Office of Sport, other NSW State Sporting Organisations, Little Athletics Australia and the State/Territory Associations, to share experiences, understanding, knowledge, and resources, and to work collaboratively to consider and determine what information and processes might be required to provide the safest possible return for sport, as we emerge from COVID-19.

To ensure our sport is ready to restart when the Government deems it to be appropriate and safe, we have drafted several Little Athletics NSW COVID-19 resource materials, including guidelines, plans, checklists and templates, all aimed at informing members and assisting centres to navigate the return to Little Athletics activities with minimal risk of COVID-19 transmission. Once these materials have been approved and released, we also plan to run several online information sessions to explain the materials and to answer any questions that centres may have. 

Whilst many would have seen the Return to Sport Toolkit released by Sport Australia, and/or the athletics specific guidelines prepared by Little Athletics Australia and Athletics Australia, these resources have not at this time been endorsed by the NSW Government or the NSW Office of Sport, although they are acknowledged as being very useful general guides.

At this stage, Little Athletics NSW, like other NSW sports, is awaiting the release of the NSW Government guidelines for the return to community sport, before finalising and communicating the process for a return to Little Athletics in NSW. It is important that the information we provide to our centres and members is accurate, compliant with the National Principles for the Resumption of Sport, but most importantly, that it is accepted by the NSW Government as a suitable plan to safely commence the 2020/21 season.

Little Athletics NSW will continue to work closely with the NSW Government, via the Office of Sport, and will provide a further update once the NSW guidelines become available.

There has also been some discussion between several NSW sports concerning the changeover between winter and summer seasons. We do understand that this is an area of concern for many centres, particularly those that operate out of shared facilities and we will, therefore, update centres with relevant information, as it evolves.

Whilst Little Athletics has not yet approved the resumption of any activities, on 22 May, the NSW Office of Sport, issued approval for sport training to recommence in groups of no more than 10 people (including spectators, and the trainer or coach), as long as appropriate guidelines are applied to achieve strict compliance with the NSW Government Public Health Order. Any individual/independent, accredited coach who is thinking of returning to training based on this approval, will need to make sure that they are aware of, plan for, implement, and communicate the required protocols to their athletes before commencing training.  

In particular, an area of at least 4m² is required per person; appropriate social distancing of at least 1.5m between people is to be maintained at all times; reasonable levels of hygiene must be maintained; and all training sessions must operate on the principle of “arrive, train, leave”. Athletes should be advised to bring their drink bottles and hand wash/sanitiser, and must be made aware that they cannot attend training if, in the last 14 days, they have been unwell, are experiencing symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, fever, fatigue or shortness of breath, or have had close contact with a known or suspected case of COVID-19. It would also be recommended that coaches maintain a record of attendance for each training session and understand that they are responsible for ensuring compliance. People should also be encouraged to download the COVID-SAFE App, to ensure quick tracing and management of any outbreaks.

Before commencing any activity, a coach also needs to engage with the local Council or venue owner to confirm approval of access, and any conditions and compliance requirements that they may have concerning that access.

Finally, regarding the holding of meetings, we advise that the current NSW Public Health Order, defines the term ‘public gathering’ (at which there can now be up to 10 people), as ‘an­ outdoor gathering in a public place.’ As there can be no public gathering indoors at this stage, we continue to recommend the use of online or virtual meetings, until indoor public gatherings are permitted under NSW rules.

For those centres yet to hold their Annual General Meeting, please note that legislation was passed through the NSW Parliament on 13 May, allowing associations to conduct meetings, including their Annual General Meeting, using technology, provided members are still able to participate. The amendment also allows voting on resolutions by the members of an association to be conducted by postal or electronic ballot. These alternative arrangements are permitted, temporarily, even if the association’s constitution does not currently allow meetings and votes to take place remotely.

We understand that there will be many more questions, as we continue to move closer towards the 2020/21 Little Athletics summer season. Whilst we may not yet be able to provide all the answers being sought, we do commit to keep you updated as information becomes available, and to support centres and their members in whatever way we can, coming into, and during the upcoming season.

We would like to thank everyone for their patience during this time of uncertainty and disruption. 

For further information and updates, please refer to the NSW Office of Sport and NSW Government.


18/03/2020: Little Athletics NSW Update

As the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve, Little Athletics NSW provides the following update:

NSW Government Public Health Order has been issued that makes it an offence to hold a public event at which there are, or are likely to be, 500 people or more in attendance at any one time. At this stage the Order lasts until 14 June 2020.

The Australian government has banned indoor gatherings of more than 100 people.

Little Athletics Australia has advised that the conduct of all organised Little Athletics activities should be suspended immediately, until at least 20 April 2020 when the LAA Board will reassess the situation and provide further advice. This suspension applies to all organised events, social gatherings, presentations, competitions and training sessions.

Read LAA statement here

It is currently still appropriate for centre administration to proceed with essential processes such as reporting and end of season governance obligations, however committees must undertake these in line with the government’s’ advice, particularly with regard to social distancing measures. Therefore, at this stage, AGM’s may be able to be conducted if they conform to social distancing guidelines, however consideration should be given to postponing or conducting these using non face-to-face contact options, if available. Centres should still look to finalise their annual reports and accounts and if they are not able to conduct an AGM then it is recommended that current committee positions be maintained until such time as an AGM can be held.

There is no restriction on committee meetings, although alternative methods, namely through phone or internet hook-ups, is recommended.

Government advice may change quickly depending on the spread of the virus, so please take this into consideration with all planning and decision making. Up-to-date information on the governments’ recommendations can be found here.

For those who have not seen previous updates, we also confirm that both the Little Athletics NSW State Championships and the Australian Little Athletics Championships have been cancelled for 2020.

We will advise within the coming days, the status of the 2020 State Road Walk Championships; the 2020 State Cross Country Championships and the 2020 LANSW Annual Conference.

The Little Athletics NSW Board is meeting this evening and will be reviewing the current restrictions, with further updates issued, as required.

Ensuring the health and wellbeing of the both the Little Athletics NSW community and the community at large, must remain the number one priority.

We thank you for your patience and understanding during this time

Little Athletics NSW

17/03/2020: Little Athletics Australia Statement on the Australian Little Athletics Championships

The Board of Little Athletics Australia wishes to advise that the 2020 Australian Little Athletics Championships (ALAC) has been cancelled due to the evolving situation of COVID19 (Coronavirus). This decision aligns with the ACT Government’s state of emergency advice regarding non-essential mass gatherings issued earlier this week.

This decision follows Friday’s announcement by Athletics Australia of the cancellation of their Junior Nationals later this month. LAA has taken this decision in the best interests of the health and wellbeing of our Little Athletics community. The decision is based on the current threat of Coronavirus impacting the health and welfare of our athletics community and Australians broadly.
This difficult decision to cancel ALAC completely was not taken lightly and has been made in line with the latest federal and state government expert health advice.

Consideration was given to the option of holding ALAC later in the year, however, this would likely have required adequate qualification events at the state level to be scheduled close to the 2020/21 season, which would have resulted in organisational and logistical difficulties for state and territory offices as well as centres.
LAA also considered the option of holding ALAC ‘under restricted conditions’ however, in line with the latest expert government health advice regarding static mass gatherings and enhancing social distancing, it was determined that the risk posed from group travel and any potential long-term isolation of minors while away from home was too high.

The LAA office is working closely with the state and territory associations, our partners, governments and other commercial providers to minimise the impact of this decision on our member

Little Athletics Australia President, Andrew Pryor said; “This has been a difficult decision by the Board and I ask that we all work together to ensure the Little Athletics community remains safe. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that, once this situation is resolved, we are ready to resume providing opportunities for children to enjoy athletics in a safe environment.”
LAA CEO, Martin Stillman said; “ALAC draws athletes, coaches, administrators, officials, families and spectators from all over Australia. This places our event in the category of 500+ attendees. We have an obligation to our Little Athletics family and to the broader community to assist authorities in limiting the spread and impact of COVID-19.”

The Little Athletics Australia team will continue to ensure the organisation and its members are supported and prepared to meet the challenges as they present themselves. The team is also actively engaged with Athletics Australia and Sport Australia to find ways of adapting to the circumstances and ensure they deliver the best outcomes possible for the sport.

17/03/2020: Little Athletics NSW State Championships Update

Little Athletics NSW continues to closely monitor the ongoing developments regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with a view to ensuring the health and wellbeing of the Little Athletics NSW community and the possible implications for Little Athletics as a sport.

Following from our announcement on Friday that the State Championships would not be taking place last weekend, we can now confirm that the 2020 State Track & Field Championships have been officially cancelled. This is the first time in the history of Little Athletics in NSW, that a State Championship has not been held and unfortunately this means there will be no Little Athletics NSW State Track & Field champions recognised for 2020.

It is regrettable that circumstances in respect of the coronavirus pandemic led to this decision and while we understand its impacts, we believe that given the circumstances and the rate of pace of change of information and advice, this decision was the appropriate one. Little Athletics, like everybody else, must do what we can to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Regarding to the Australian Little Athletics Championships scheduled to be held on the 18th and 19th April in Canberra, we are expecting a decision from Little Athletics Australia later today and will provide an update once that has been received.

We remind everyone of the need to continually monitor and adhere to the advice being issued by the various health authorities. We will also be providing further information and advice relevant to our members on this page, as it comes to hand, and encourage everyone to check back regularly for the latest update.

Thank you to everyone for your cooperation and understanding as we continue our commitment to ensuring the health and wellbeing of our members and the community.

14/03/2020: Little Athletics Australia COVID-19 Recommendation

The Board of LAA (the Board) convened an emergency meeting Friday afternoon 13/03/20 to assess the implications for Little Athletics of the rapid escalation of the coronavirus in Australia and crucial Government advice related to containment.

The Board and LAA office have consulted with experts and stakeholders, including our State and Territory leaders, and we acknowledge the Prime Minister’s advice following Friday’s COAG meeting and the official declaration by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of pandemic status for COVID-19. Accordingly, it is the Board’s strong recommendation that State and Territory Championship events not proceed this weekend.

The Board does not make this recommendation lightly. It is regrettable that circumstances in respect of the coronavirus pandemic have led to this recommendation, and while we understand its impacts, we believe that, given the circumstances and the rate of pace of change, this is the appropriate course of action for now.
As matters progress, we will review the situation, and provide support and recommendations to members. We appreciate your support and patience during this very trying time.

The health of everyone is our priority. We want to do our best to promote the safety of all families involved in Little Athletics at all levels. We understand these things are disappointing. We assure you that we will be considering the best for all, over the coming time as we navigate this together.

13/03/2020: State Championship Update

Little Athletics NSW has been closely monitoring and evaluating developments regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak for the past week or more, with advice being sourced daily from the Australian and NSW Health departments.

News has just been received that a meeting today of State and Federal Governments has agreed to issue advice to cancel ALL public gatherings of over 500 people. As a result of this advice, we now confirm that this weekend’s State Championships WILL NOT be taking place.

We have no further information at this stage, but will make further announcements about centre competitions, selections for the Australian Little Athletics Championships and other relevant matters, at the earliest possible opportunity.