The North Peace Gymnastics Association opened its doors to kids on Wednesday, July 29 for the first time in more than four months. The NPGA and Gymnastics B.C. have developed a very thorough and complex return-to-sport plan — there is a lot of cleaning and sanitizing required — but for the NPGA coaches and staff it's worth it to get the kids back in the gym.
"The kids are so happy to be back. Our sport is all about muscle memory — they start to lose flexibility after two weeks without training, so to have our teams down for four months is huge and we're glad to get training started," said manager Chantelle Yates.
Due to the nature of the sport — high intensity movement with lots of contact with various sports — the number of people allowed in a class is much lower than in other sports that are returning. Nevermind 50 people at once, the NPGA is limiting classes to just six kids. T
here are 35 athletes participating in the summer session overall. To start, each class will have one day of training a week (2.5 hours) for the first two weeks, then move to two days of training a week for two weeks after that.
The NPGA will finish the summer session with three days of classes a week for the following two weeks. Still, the competitive and performance teams, which are the ones returning to action right now, are used to being in the gym 16 hours a week. By the end of August they will only be up to 7.5 hours a week.
As for the cleaning, every piece of vinyl equipment a kid touches is cleaned when they are done using it, and there is a full disinfectant of the space after each class. Kids are now training in socks — normally socks are too slippery to train in — to limit the amount of contact their skin has with the floor, and each athlete has their own personal yoga matt to train on.
It will take a lot of work from everyone involved to follow the rules and make sure things run smoothly, but gymnasts can finally take a deep breath and start participating again in the sport they love.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org.