As we plan for the upcoming event season amid COVID-19, Skate Ontario has and will continue to adhere to two guiding principles:
- Maintaining skater engagement
- Providing meaningful performance opportunities for skaters at different developmental stages within all current COVID-19 restrictions
As we look ahead to the 2020-2021 season, there are several factors to consider when determining the viability of an event. These include:
- Current government restrictions (i.e. gathering size, physical distancing etc.)
- Our ability to follow all protocol requirements set out by public health, the municipality and the facility
- The comfort of volunteers running a competition at this time
- Skater preparation given possible adjusted training timelines this season
- The needs of the skating community to stay committed to skating this season
With all of this in mind, we have the following three announcements to make regarding Skate Ontario events this season:
1. Skate Ontario is excited to announce that we plan to host four Skate ON events in November and December. Skate ON events are intended to provide opportunities for skaters to perform as we begin to return to skating events in Ontario. These four events will not be considered as Super Series qualifying events for Skate Ontario Provincial Championships.
- Skate ON Huntsville – November 13–15, 2020
- Skate ON Baltimore – November 13–15, 2020
- Skate ON Keswick – November 20–22, 2020
- Skate ON Stratford – December 11–13, 2020
- Skate ON Thunder Bay – December 11–13, 2020 – Pending
The health and safety of all our stakeholders is our number one priority. These events will be held in accordance with all necessary public health, facility and safety guidelines. Should there be changes with the Ontario COVID-19 situation, Skate Ontario may be required to reevaluate the holding of these events. Participants will be required to follow all Skate Ontario and facility COVID-19 protocols. As such, parts of these events will look and feel different from past Skate Ontario event seasons.
- In order to work within current government restrictions, all competitions will be one pad events thus limiting registration capacity.
- STAR 1-4 categories and STAR 5-Gold supplementary categories will not be offered at any of these events. Further information about what categories will be offered will be communicated shortly.
- The scoring format for these events is currently being determined. Skate Ontario is exploring options that may include having officials off-site using virtual video judging to create event results.
- The ability to have spectators will be considered based on facility protocols.
More details about these events will follow including: Return to Competition Protocols, registration details, event formats and event announcements.
We will follow up with more details about January events and beyond by October 16, 2020.
Skate Ontario is also exploring the option of offering events of a more “virtual” nature that would allow skaters an opportunity to compete with the submission of a video. Clubs are encouraged to consider offering other in-club activities for their skaters during this time such as performance and development opportunities (i.e. challenge days, motivational sessions, club events, etc.) and assessment days along with their regularly scheduled training to keep skaters motivated and help continue their skill development and love for our sport!
2. Skate Ontario and the host club have made the difficult decision to cancel the first Synchro Series event in Dorchester scheduled for December 4-6, 2020. This decision has been made in consultation with coaches, the host club and in consideration of the fact that synchronized skating teams are still not able to contact and train effectively for the upcoming season.
In addition, as Ontario takes a staged approach to re-opening the Province, the Stage 3 gathering size restrictions of 50 people indoors, makes the possibility of running a large Synchronized Skating event not feasible at this time.
A decision regarding the remainder of the Synchro Series season has not yet been made. Skate Ontario will continue to monitor the ongoing COVID-19 situation and provide further information in the coming weeks.
We understand the Synchronized Skating season in Ontario is short and the break has been long and difficult for skaters, coaches and teams. We are committed to ensuring that the return to competition for synchronized skating is done in a safe manner. We will continue to work to provide our coaches, skaters and parents with adequate event information in order to make decisions for their team(s) and plan for the upcoming season.
3. We regret to inform you that Skate Ontario, in conjunction with our host clubs, has made the decision to cancel all November and December STAR 1-4 competitions. The following competitions have been affected:
- STAR 1-4 Port Credit (November 27-29, 2020)
- STAR 1-4 Nickel Blades (December 4-6, 2020)
- STAR 1-4 Clarence Creek (December 11-13, 2020)
This difficult decision has been based on a number of factors including uncertainty about the start of the season for many of our STAR 1-4 skaters as well as uncertainty about our ability to include spectators and award ceremonies and many of the aspects that make these events fun and enjoyable. We look forward to a time when family and friends can enjoy a STAR 1-4 event with their skaters. Further decisions on events from January to March will be communicated by October 12, 2020.
As previously mentioned, clubs are encouraged to consider offering other in-club activities for STAR 1-4 skaters during this time such as performance and development opportunities (i.e. challenge days, motivational sessions, club events, etc.) to compliment regular programming, to keep skaters motivated and help continue their love for figure skating!
If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, Skate Ontario will be hosting a Town Hall on Tuesday, August 25 at 7:30pm ET, please feel free to join and ask questions.