Posts specifically addressing how we’re dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.

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Private Lessons are Coming Back!

As part of King County’s Modified Phase 1 status under Washington’s “Safe Start” plan, we are preparing to reopen RCFC for some activities. As soon as we have all the necessary safety measures in place, we will resume private lessons and limited retail sales by appointment.

We have updated our list of COVID-19 mitigation measures on our website. Many of these requirements come from the Washington State Health Department; others are additional measures we are taking to reduce risk of transmission. One state requirement is that all students will need to sign a COVID-19 waiver form acknowledging the risk and agreeing to abide by all of our safety policies. This waiver will be provided through our membership system and can be signed online.

One measure we are taking is to space out the private lesson schedule. While the average lesson remains approximately 20 minutes, we will schedule lessons with each coach to start every 30 minutes. The additional break time between lessons will allow for hand washing, review of COVID safety measures, and will allow fencers to enter and leave the club without as much cross traffic. This additional time does mean that our previous lesson schedules will need to be adjusted.

If you have taken private lessons before, please let us know via email (for each student) your preferred day, time range, and coach for a recurring lesson. Please indicate your first choice as well as one or two other options. We will attempt to accommodate everyone’s first choices as much as possible. Note that other days and times besides our previous schedule may now be available, including mornings, early afternoons (before 3:00) and weekends. If you would like to try an alternative time, let us know.

If you have not taken private lessons before but are interested in trying them instead of group classes, let us know the student’s name and preferred days and times, and preferred coach if you have one. We will try to accommodate everyone’s wishes and match up students to coaches appropriately. Check out the Private Lessons page on our website for more details about lessons.

We hope to start up private lessons as soon as the end of this coming week. As we understand different people have different levels of risk tolerance, if you would like to wait a while before resuming lessons, please let us know your estimated start date as well.

At this point we are not allowed to provide any activities other than one-on-one instruction. Groups of 5 fencers or fewer will be permitted once King County reaches Phase 2. We will update you via email and our website when we are ready to provide group activities.

As always, feel free to contact us via email if you have any questions or comments. We’re looking forward to getting back to fencing!

Greg Jones
Rain City Fencing Center

COVID-19 Mitigation at RCFC

Last updated June 13, 2020

We are planning to reopen RCFC for in-person activities soon. During King County’s Modified Phase 1 of Washington’s “Safe Start” phased approach policy, we will be able to provide private lessons and retail sales by appointment only. Starting in Phase 2 we will be able to add group instruction with 5 students or fewer. Larger classes will be part of Phase 3.

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, and is based on specific requirements and recommendations from local, state, and federal agencies. We will continue to update it as ideas come out of further discussions among the coaches, and any further recommendations from state and local governments are released. 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. Clients will be required to sign a waiver agreeing to our COVID-19 mitigation policies. An email containing a link to a brief safety reminder video will be sent prior to each lesson (WA state requirement).

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.
  • All of our staff will wear appropriate PPE including face coverings 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. When paying in person with a credit card, signatures are not required.
  • When possible, we will keep our entry doors propped open during class and lesson 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 will be propped open to avoid contact with door handles.
  • Lockers, changing areas, and showers will be closed until state guidelines allow them to be reopened. Only restroom use and hand washing will be permitted in those areas.
  • Because changing areas are closed, fencers should come to the club dressed in athletic wear appropriate for under a fencing uniform.
  • Street shoes will not be permitted on the fencing floor. Please bring your athletic shoes with you and put them on in the lobby.
  • All students should bring water bottles with them. Please put your name on your water bottle! At our water fountains, there will be no drinking by mouth, only filling water bottles. Water bottles left behind at the club will be thrown away.
  • Once open fencing reopens, 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 be installing no-touch soap dispensers and faucets in all restrooms as soon as they are available to us.
  • The weight room will remain closed until Phase 2. Once it reopens, sanitizing equipment before and after use will be required, using the sanitizing spray provided.
  • There will be no shared tools available in the guest armory. Please bring your own tools to work on your equipment.
  • For now, props for games (balls, pool noodles, etc.) will not be available.
  • Because the wood floor is where the most strenuous activity takes place, fencers should avoid doing stretching and fitness exercises on the floor. Bring a yoga mat, or use the carpeted areas instead.

Distancing

  • All staff and customers should maintain 6-foot distancing at all times.
  • A maximum of 2 people will be allowed in each main restroom 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. Otherwise, parents should wait upstairs. If possible, only one non-fencer should accompany a minor fencer into the club.
  • When going upstairs, use the front stairs. Come back down via the back stairs.
  • Enter through the front doors only. When possible, exit through the double doors between the two gyms.
  • We will set up our new furniture in the lobby and on the mezzanine with appropriate distancing. No more than 5 people should gather in any one common area.
  • Group class sizes will be reduced– maximum 5 students per group in Phase 2, maximum 10-12 students per gym in Phase 3.
  • 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.
  • When sparring becomes permissible, open fencing will be on odd-numbered strips only on some days, even-numbered strips other days.
  • Starting in Phase 2, we will offer free trial sessions for up to 5 members of the same household.
  • After saluting: no handshakes, high-fives, or elbow bumps.
  • Lessons and classes will have staggered start times and extra time between sessions to minimize students’ exposure.

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. We will conduct a no-contact temperature check of everyone who enters the club. 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. Coaches will verify hand washing or sanitizing before starting a class or lesson.
  • Hand sanitizer, tissues, and trash cans will be available throughout the facility.
  • Students should come for class a few minutes earlier than usual to avoid backups in the restrooms.
  • To minimize exposure time, please do not arrive more than 15 minutes early for your class or lesson, unless you’re accompanying a family member who has an earlier class or lesson.
  • All employees will be screened for symptoms daily.
  • Cloth or surgical masks will be required for everyone while in the building. This includes underneath the fencing mask.
  • Coaches will wash and/or sanitize their hands before and after every lesson or class.
  • Please do not bring food to the club, to reduce hygiene risks and the time required to clean up between 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 fencing bags or 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 bags or 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.
  • Private lessons will be available as an alternative to group classes, depending on coaches’ schedules.
  • Private lessons are by appointment only; no drop-in lessons are permitted.
  • 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.

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!