Reply to BHS MTB Parent-Rider-Coach Survey Responses from 24 July, 2020

Reply to BHS MTB Parent-Rider-Coach Survey Responses from 24 July, 2020

30 July, 2020

Matt Muir

Working Shared Practice Standards Document

https://boulderhighmtb.wpengine.com/boulder-high-shared-standards-for-covid-compliant-mountain-bike-practices-boulder-high-version/
Reference this document above

The above linked shared standards document remains a working document in order to continue to adapt to circumstances and regulations, thus, remaining compliant and updating standards.

New Direction from BVSD

On July 28th, BVSD informed BVSD teams that all their coaches must perform a background check with BVSD’s background check company in addition to the background check coaches already do for their Colorado League/NICA certifications.  This is a new and added step that will take some time to comply with.

Quantitative Response Section

There is majority support for practicing this season in the quantitative response section of the survey.

There is also dissent, criticism, and apprehension expressed in the survey responses.  BHS MTB leadership accepts these points.  The governing principle in BHS MTB’s policy is getting kids on bikes in a compliant fashion that balances risks and benefits.

See the appendix at the end of this document for a summary of the quantitative responses.

Open Ended Response Topics And Replies

Practice start times and suggested later start times to allow for retrieving bikes.

The working intention is to announce staggered practice start times after school, Monday through Thursday.  The staggered times and locations spread out across BHS’s campus allow for physical distancing.  Later start times are a good idea but, overall, weighed against daylight and the limits of practice time.

Boulder Junior Cycling, Single Track Mountain Bike Adventures, and similar precedents

Since March, youth cycling nonprofits across the state have operated under the regulations of the Colorado Department of Public Health And Environment.  The Colorado High School Cycling League has issued similar guidelines.  The standards shared by BHS MTB and Fairview are essentially identical to these existing practice protocols.  Teams across the state are operating under and abiding by the standards.

Question number three’s poor wording.

Several people pointed out that the survey’s wording, especially item number three was unclear.  This is true, apologies.

Refund of payments to The Colorado League and to BHS MTB.

Payments to the Colorado League are nonrefundable and part of the League’s Singletrack Solidarity program of virtual programming for this season.  BHS MTB intends to guide practice participation towards the Singletrack Solidarity programming.  Any organization has planning and outlay costs that cannot be refunded.

Currently, BHS MTB leadership is attempting to determine what percentage of programming can be delivered this season and, subsequently, make a commensurate refund of fees to families that have been paid to the team.  Given the existing workload, this may take some time.

There should be no practices, or only virtual practice, kids should do challenges on their own; practicing creates unnecessary risk.  Uncertainty versus risk.

This is the fundamental question and the practice standards document states that what guides us are regulations from authorities, best practices in the community, and the balance of risk and benefit.

It’s unclear if virtual practices are possible.  In person practice during the pandemic while following standards is one thing.  Deploying minors on roads and trails via electronic means while unable to supervise safety, fitness, habits, and behavior is questionable to several coaches.

Group use of trails causes difficulty for land managers.

This is a historic conundrum.  Even without a pandemic, unaffiliated individuals and groups that are less identifiable can cause all sorts of problems but they are less noticeable.  Alternatively, when young people are in identifiable clothing and groups, even with trained coaches who supervise standards and compliance, they are a target for blame.

One of the main points of coached mountain biking is to develop healthy behaviors that are accepted in the community and on public lands with measured accountability that allows kids to grow.  If the activity is prohibited or over-regulated as a result of an unevenly applied standard, then the kids and “problems” do not just go away.  Rather, they find other places to misbehave without oversight and they fail to develop accountability to their community.

Coaches may not wish to expose themselves to virus transmission risk.

No one is required to participate against their desires.  Everyone is encouraged to make their own decisions based on their best interests.

Use more parent volunteers to run even more and smaller groups.

Bound by Colorado League and NICA standards, every group must be led by a certified level 2 coach.

Getting kids to comply with mask wearing.

Yes, this is a challenge.  It will require diligence.

Need for storage containers for busy parents.  Could be used in a safe manner.

We’ll continue to explore this.  It does seem like there is a way to use the containers and manage distancing and virus transmission risk.

Practicing once every 10 days is insufficient.

The coaches agree, if kids can only practice once every ten days, the value of practice seems severely diminished.

Cohort/pod model does not work because of cross-contamination during the rest of the day.

Good point.  Nonetheless, the standards document that guides our practice protocols is informed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment guidelines as well as other standards that govern our team.

Additionally, even if kids cross-contaminate it does not help to multiply that cross-contamination risk with larger groups.  Instead, keeping small groups helps limit further virus transmission.

Meet at separate trail heads.

This is under exploration.

Such and such ‘…has worked well for other youth cycling nonprofits…”

Several comments indicated that youth cycling nonprofits have worked well over the summer.  Here we have to beware of confirmation bias, that is, nothing is a problem until it’s a problem.  We’re obligated to endeavor to follow the standards and contain the virus.

Let’s say we get a case of Covid.  If we’ve contained it with our practice standards, then we’ve avoided negligence and prevented worsening the balance of risk and benefit.

Virtual challenges, “singletrack solidarity.”

Once we can achieve initial organization, the intention is to use the League’s virtual challenges to incentivize practice and participation.

Meeting needs of teens physically, socially, and emotionally.

Lots of comments talked about what is a nationally recognized problem or crisis even, the health and wellbeing of teens during the pandemic.  The intention of practicing under the protocol of the standards document is to get kids on bikes in order to help with wellbeing while mitigating risk.

Hold more practices and races.

We’re maxed out on capacity as is.  Racing is sanctioned by the League and cancelled this year due to the pandemic.

Alternatively, our relationship with Fairview’s team has only improved lately and we may try to do some virtual competition with the Fairview Squires.  But first things first.

Maintaining sense of team.

No doubt, this will be severely compromised this year.  Just the basics are challenging.

Clothing delivery?

We’ll let you know.

Movement of riders between groups.

Rider placement in groups is hard in the first place.  Moving riders between groups will have to be limited this year.

Immuno-comprimised or vulnerable families.

I have friends in this category.  Every family should make the decisions that are best for themselves.  As a community, we’re employing the standards to minimize risk.

What are doing to ensure compliance of coaches?

We’re lucky.  We have nearly 40 coaches who sacrifice their time and resources to get kids on bikes.  Rarely do you have to tell them something twice.

Courteous trail use habits

These are more important than ever.  One thing that really helps is the presence of programs like Boulder Junior Cycling and Singletrack Mountain Bike Adventures who for decades have formed habits in young riders who show up at high school modeling what proper riding behavior is.

Another thing that is extra hard during the pandemic is remembering that they’re kids, they’re still learning.  It’s our job to teach them constructively and with tolerance.

Summary of Quantitative Responses

This survey is anonymous but it is being sent out to parents, riders and, coaches. Please let us know which category you’d like us to put your response under.

Parent  104

Rider  48

Coach  16

As a family, if secure container storage is unavailable, would your student be able to attend practice with a bike? (Basically, would you be able to arrange for your student to have a bike ready for practice, fyi – we do NOT recommend locking a bike up outside school for any long duration). 

Yes  156

No  21

Do you think that having your son/daughter participate in a single practice every 1.5 weeks would be suitable / acceptable as part of the Covid prevention measures necessary for all participants’ safety?

*Note, this question was, admittedly, poorly worded.

Yes  126

No  51

Will you support and encourage your son/daughter to participate in the League’s virtual, “Single Track Solidarity” efforts this season? (See https://madmimi.com/p/fb64011?pact=14116585-159236328-4655523835-cd3d0f4e9ea93a273cd2d055fe65b34d12e54c16)

Yes  163

No  14

Are you concerned about your son/daughter’s safety at practice/riding this fall due to the Covid pandemic?

Yes  55

No  122

Do you think the season as a whole including practices should be cancelled this season due to the Covid pandemic? 

Yes  18

No  159

On a scale from 1-10, where 10 is the least comfortable, and 1 is the most comfortable. How would you rate your comfort level when riding in a group with 5 other people.

1 – 32

2 – 15

3 – 18

4 – 6

5 – 4

6 – 1

7 – 3

8 – 2

9 – 3

10 – 1

On a scale from 1-10, where 10 is the least comfortable, and 1 is the most comfortable. How would you rate your comfort level when riding in a group with 10 other people.

1 – 16

2 – 6

3 – 15

4 – 5

5 – 14

6 – 4

7 – 3

8 – 7

9 – 6

10 – 4

BHS MTB is exploring shared written Covid compliant practice standards with Fairview’s mountain bike team. The intention of these standards is to be compliant with public health regulations, BVSD, The Colorado High School Mountain Bike League, and local land managers like The City of Boulder and Boulder County. These standards would be based on the “bubble” concept of small groups that remain stable, physically distanced, follow facial mask protocol, and routine health screens. Would you be in favor of such policy and operations?

Yes  141

No  2

I’m not sure  33