Five Tips for Implementing a Health Check Process
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Health checks. Symptom checks. Self-screenings. Whatever you call them, they’re an essential step in a safe return to play. Which is why we’re seeing them more and more in the requirements coming down from state and local governments as well as governing bodies.
If you’re like many of our customers, your organization is working to find the right way to get the season going in the safest manner possible. You have questions. You have concerns. And while there’s a lot of information out there, it’s hard to cut through all the noise.
To help, we talked to customers about their COVID-19 plans, and, specifically, we asked them how they were handling pre-game and pre-practice screenings. What follows are five recommendations for sports organizations looking to roll out their own health check process.
Where to begin…
Getting up to speed on an ever-evolving situation is tough. But don’t worry, you aren’t in this alone.
#1 – Start with your local government and governing bodies.
They can give you the best and most current information about what’s required, what’s recommended, and what’s changed. Some have stricter guidelines and all continue to update their recommendations as they learn what’s working and what’s not. For those of you in the U.S., you can use the CDC’s list of local health departments’ websites to find out more.
#2 – Talk to other sports organizations in your area
Find out what they’re doing and how it’s working. Not only do they have a grasp of any requirements specific to your area, you can continue to share and learn from each other. Ask them where they’re getting their information, what tools they’re using, and how their members have been responding to the new policies.
#3 – Bring your coaches into the conversation—and early.
Your coaches and team managers are likely the ones who will be tracking the screenings and ensuring that every player who shows up to a game or practice has been cleared ahead of time. They’ll be working directly with parents to make sure everyone knows the process and sticks to it. Their input into the process will be informative; their involvement will be essential.
Getting your process off the ground
You know what requirements and recommendations to follow. You have a good idea of how you want to roll it out. Now what?
#4 – Make it simple to follow
No surprises here. The easier something is to follow, the more likely people will actually do it. Limiting the number of apps or services your members have to use is one way. Keeping to only the essential questions is another. Look for ways to make the process hassle-free.
#5 – Plan for “failure”
While you think through your plan for avoiding a COVID incident, be sure you clearly outline what coaches, parents, and players should do in the event of a failed screening. How long should the individual stay home? How do they know when they can return? What’s your plan for letting all members know of a suspected incident?
Be clear. Be consistent. Be ready to adapt.
As you start to share the new policies and practices with your members, remember not to work inside of a black box. Transparency and candidness can be your two best allies, so be clear about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and what’s expected of your coaches, parents, and players. It’s going to take time for people to process and adjust to the new behavior. Here, consistency is everything. Stick with the plan, with reminders, and with penalties as the season goes on. Just don’t do it blindly. Things are going to change. Situations will evolve. And when they do, you have to know when it’s time to adapt. Be ready for it.
One more thing…
If you are looking for a tool to help you run a health checks process, I would be remiss if I didn’t call out TeamSnap Health Check. You can administer and manage health screenings all within the TeamSnap app. And during COVID, it’s free for all users!
Zach Wills is a product marketer, landscape photographer, and hiker who dreams of the day when his kids can carry the heavy stuff.