COVID-19 Mitigation at RCFC

We expect to be able to reopen RCFC for in-person activities when we reach Phase 3 of Washington’s “Safe Start” phased approach policy. We have prepared the following protocols which we plan to follow to minimize the risk of exposure for students, parents, and coaches.

This list is a work in progress. We will update it as ideas come out of further discussions among the coaches, and based on any specific recommendations from state and local governments as Phase 3 draws nearer. Once we reopen, we will also continually evaluate these protocols for feasibility and effectiveness, and adjust them as necessary.

Note that while we will attempt to minimize risks as much as possible, there is no way that risk can be completely eliminated. Members of high-risk populations should still stay home.

Surfaces and Objects

  • High-contact surfaces (including but not limited to door handles, faucet handles, machine controls, reel cable ends, etc.) will be disinfected at the end of each day.
  • Our front desk staff will wear mask and gloves at all times. There will be a transparent barrier at the front desk to help minimize risk of transmission.
  • We strongly recommend that customers pay their bills online through our membership system. In person, our credit card terminal supports contactless payments such as tap-and-go and Apple Pay.
  • We will explore keeping our entry doors propped open during class times, so that contact with door handles is not necessary and to increase air circulation. This may change based on how heating and air conditioning are affected.
  • Doors to the main restrooms and locker rooms will be propped open to avoid contact with door handles. We will erect privacy screens for the locker room areas.
  • Day locker use will be discontinued for now? Only coaches and people with annual locker rentals may use lockers.
  • All students should bring water bottles with them. At our water fountains, there will be no drinking by mouth, only filling water bottles.
  • Scoring machines should be turned on and off with the tip of the weapon if possible. For now, remote controls should not be used.
  • We will look into installing no-touch soap dispensers and faucets in all restrooms.
  • We will look into obtaining sanitizing spray to be used on equipment in the weight room. Sanitizing equipment before and after use will be required. If we are unable to obtain such materials, the weight room will be closed until we are able to do so.

Distancing

  • A maximum of 2-3 people will be allowed in each locker room at a time.
  • Students should check in at the front desk, and wait upstairs or outside for their class or lesson.
  • If possible, parents and other non-fencers should wait in their vehicle or leave after checking in their child and come back at the end of class.
  • People should go upstairs at the front and come back down via the back stairs.
  • We will set up our new furniture in the lobby and on the mezzanine with appropriate distancing.
  • Group class sizes will be reduced– maximum 10-12 students per gym.
  • When students are lined up for warmup and footwork exercises, one fencer per strip instead of two.
  • For practice drills we will have one pair of students on every other strip, and minimize rotations.
  • We are investigating whether sparring will be possible under current safety guidelines. If it is, open fencing will be on odd-numbered strips only on some days, even-numbered strips other days.
  • Our free trial class for new beginners will be limited to 12 students. We will add a second session per month if necessary.
  • After saluting: no handshakes, high-fives, or elbow bumps.

Hygiene and Screening

  • All standard CDC recommendations (hand washing, control coughs and sneezes, stay home if any symptoms, etc.) will be in place.
  • Fencers and parents should self-monitor symptoms and check their temperature before they leave home. Anyone with any COVID-like symptoms or a temperature over 100 will not be allowed in the club.
  • Parents should check their child in at the front desk.
  • Students should wash their hands on arrival. They may do so in the restrooms or using the kitchen sink upstairs. Students should come for class a few minutes earlier than usual to avoid backups in the restrooms.
  • All employees will be screened for symptoms daily.
  • Cloth or surgical masks will be required for everyone while in the building. We will look into the feasibility of wearing a cloth or surgical mask inside a fencing mask. If that’s feasible, it will be required.
  • We will look into the feasibility of coaches wearing cloth or surgical masks while teaching classes.

Fencing Equipment

  • Fencers who have their own gear should bring it, use it, take it home every day, and wash/disinfect it after each use.
  • Fencers who have their own gear are not allowed to borrow any club gear. The club gear will be locked down during competitive classes and open fencing.
  • We strongly recommend that students purchase their own gear, or at least their own glove and mask, after their first month of classes. We will do our best to maintain our retail inventory at appropriate levels.
  • Retail uniforms which are worn to check for size and not purchased will be kept out of active inventory for at least 24 hours.
  • For students who do not have their own gear, each student will be allocated their own set of club gear, which will remain at the club. All club gear is labeled with index numbers, which will be recorded for each student. We will place each student’s set of gear in a separate spot (possibly in separate plastic bins) where they can access it before class and return it afterwards. Each student only wears one particular set of gear, and each piece of gear is only worn by one student.
  • Club gear will be washed/sanitized weekly, then put back out into bins.

Class and Lesson Offerings

  • We will look into expanding our class and lesson schedule, earlier in the day and more days per week, to allow for more and smaller classes. We will also adjust class schedules to allow for down time between classes, to avoid cross traffic in the lobby.
  • Private lessons will be available as an alternative to group classes, depending on coaches’ schedules.
  • We will offer semi-private sessions (30 or 60 minutes as appropriate), consisting of 1 coach working with up to 4 fencers from the same household.
  • In group classes, we will employ longer-distance, no-contact games and exercises to minimize student contact.

RCFC Closure Extended through May 31st

As part of Washington State’s continued Stay Home, Stay Healthy initiative, we expect to be closed at least through May 31st. As you can see in Washington’s “phased approach” plan, we should be able to reopen as part of Phase 3. When the state reaches Phase 2, the coaches and staff will be working to develop appropriate safety protocols for when we reopen.

We will update this page as schedule updates are made available. Meanwhile, stay healthy!

RCFC Closure Extended to May 4th

Due to directives from the State of Washington and USA Fencing, RCFC will remain closed at least through May 4th. All monthly memberships have been placed on hold for the month of April. We will update our website as conditions change. Stay healthy!

Rain City SYC Cancelled

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have decided to cancel the 2020 Rain City Super Youth Circuit. Read on for more information.

More info

RCFC Closed Through March 31st

Due to today’s official state-wide coronavirus emergency declaration, all health and fitness clubs and indoor recreational facilities must close. That includes all classes and lessons at RCFC. We agree with the decision to limit people’s participation in non-essential activities in order to control the spread of the outbreak.

Effective immediately, we will place everyone’s memberships on hold. If your account is set up for automatic payment, we will be double-checking our attendance records to make sure you are only charged for bills before March, and classes or lessons actually attended. Those charges will be processed later this week.

Once we return to a normal schedule, we will apply account credits for customers who purchased annual class and/or tournament packages. Unfortunately it is not possible to issue partial refunds through our membership system.

All tournaments in the month of March are cancelled. We will evaluate the April and May schedule later this month. Watch our website and AskFRED for updates.

The Rain City Super Youth Circuit will also be postponed or cancelled, given the CDC recommendation to avoid groups of 50 or more people for the next 8 weeks. We are working with the USA Fencing national office on the best way to handle the refund process.

Our coaches are brainstorming ideas for practice videos and other ways that fencers can continue to learn at home. Check our website for updates on that, as well as the latest news.

We appreciate your support during this difficult time, and hope to get back to normal as soon as it is safe to do so. Stay home, stay healthy, and wash your hands!

Greg Jones
Head Coach
Rain City Fencing Center

March Tournaments Canceled

Per a directive from the USA Fencing national office, all local and regional tournaments through April 8th are cancelled. This includes the following events at RCFC:

  • D & Under Foil #2 – Mar. 19
  • RCFC Youth #5 – Mar. 28
  • Western Washington Foil/Epee Challenge #6 – Mar. 29

We will reschedule the March 29th event to June if the situation eases. We will update the status of April and May events as things develop.

March Update – Coronavirus and More

We know everyone is concerned about the spread of COVID-19. We also know that kids need something to do when there’s no school! In addition to the standard advice from the CDC (wash hands frequently, stay home if you are sick, etc.), here’s an update on what we’re doing at RCFC.

  • We recommend that all students wash their hands as soon as they arrive at the club.
  • Due to some students canceling their classes temporarily, most of our classes are already smaller than usual. We are also cutting back on games involving close contact, and generally spreading the students over a wider area.
  • Each club fencing mask is only worn by one person per day, and is treated with Lysol spray before being put back in use.
  • Plastrons and gloves are being washed more frequently, in hot water.
  • We have increased our retail stock of masks and gloves if you would like to purchase your own.
  • We are disinfecting high-contact surfaces more frequently, including door handles, handrails, and electric reel cable ends.
  • We recommend that all students bring a water bottle which they can refill using the bottle fillers on our drinking fountains.

Alternative Fencing Activities

If you’re not sure about group classes but don’t want to lose your competitive edge, consider private lessons. Our coaches will be expanding their available hours for lessons. Talk to the coaches for more details.

We are also considering making some work-at-home footwork videos and other solo practice tips. We are open to suggestions on other ways we can keep our students enjoying fencing while observing disease prevention guidelines. If you have ideas, please let us know!

Stay healthy and wash your hands!