NVVA's plan for an in-person winter season experience with adjustments for the health and safety of our athletes, coaches, parents, and staff.
Practices, camps, and clinics
Teams are now allowed to play 6X6 team drills.
We will continue to require athletes to wear masks at all times in the facility.
NVVA will keep analyzing the safety of hosting and participating in tournaments.
Practices, camps, and clinics
Teams are now allowed to play 2x2, 3x3, and 4x4 team drills. This will allow coaches to run some of the athletes’ favorite drills. While this is still not the full team of players on the court, it provides more game-like situations for the players. We will continue to avoid drills that require having athletes face to face close to the net.
We will continue to require athletes to wear masks at all times in the facility. It takes time to adjust to them, but our players are doing well, and we feel that this precaution is still necessary to prevent possible transmission within the facility.
We feel safe in loosening this restriction now, however, we may need to bring court spacing back following the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. With the holidays in mind, we have decided to substitute the first two tournament weekends in January (01/02-03 and 01/09-10) with extra practices for our teams. We don’t think it is safe to invite other teams to play against our athletes in our facility, or to bring our athletes to the tournament within the first few weeks after the holiday when cases have the potential to surge. What that means to your family is that instead of a tournament that weekend, we will be hosting an internal activity with the teams, to be decided in the next couple of weeks, based on cases.
I want to thank all of our families, coaches, and athletes for following our guidelines and communicating openly and quickly with our staff. Because of this cooperation, we have not had notifications of COVID spread within our facility. Parents have been helpful in keeping athletes that had been exposed outside of the facility away from practices and the other athletes. While the numbers of COVID cases in the larger community continue to increase, the measures we have taken at NVVA are working, and we feel that decreasing the spacing requirements on the court is safe at this time.
Consistent with the state's department of health Loudoun County has been designated as a phase 3 area. NVVA is adhering to all applicable public health guidance for this designation.
All in-person tournaments require face masks and physical distancing. NVVA’s President/CEO has approved very few in-person, NVVA organized tournaments. Weekend tournaments will have NO spectators, and coaches MUST wear masks at ALL times. Athletes must wear masks at all times and may remove their masks while playing and are free to keep their masks on if desired. Tournament schedules have been modified to lower the hours’ athletes and coaches are in the facility.
Practices, camps, and clinics
NVVA has limited the number of programs and team offerings to avoid overcrowding our facilities. Athletes must wear masks at all times and may remove their masks while playing and are free to keep their masks on if desired. Coaches MUST wear masks at ALL times. No spectators are allowed to watch practices.
Winter season is quickly approaching. NVVA plans to continue with an in-person winter semester with the same modes of instruction as the current fall semester. This is subject to change depending on trends in disease prevalence and guidance from state and local governments. Athletes can begin registering for winter programs now.
The end of the 2020 volleyball season will be marked in history as one of the most difficult for every volleyball club in the nation. Trying to figure out the unknown future with COVID-19 was challenging for every volleyball club manager, parent, and athlete. As the President/CEO of the Northern Virginia Volleyball Association (NVVA), an organization with more than 2500 members, I had to make quick and tough decisions to keep our participants, coaches, and staff safe.
At the beginning of March, when the pandemic was quickly spreading, we made the difficult choice to close our 40,000 square feet facility even before the government ordered it. My team and I immediately launched into planning mode. We recorded hundreds of hours of content for athletes to consume virtually, including podcasts and training videos. We published a COVID-19 resource website, arranged for volleyball and weight-training equipment to be picked up by NVVA families, strategize how to build outdoor courts in our parking lot, and researched every possible safety precaution for when we were able to return.
Though the athletes were not physically at our facility, we could virtually connect with them by using tools we were already familiar with like Google Meet, Youtube, team genius and Ecamm live, among other technologies we work with daily.
I have always placed a strong focus on establishing robust processes and utilizing automation for our organization. But now more than ever, I realized the importance of these tools. During the mist of the pandemic, my wife and I were gifted with our first child's birth, which has undoubtedly been more than a blessing. To keep my newborn child safe, I could not physically be at the club side-by-side with my team. But because of our technology platforms and an excellent team of staff and coaches, we were able to adapt quickly to the pandemic's constraints, and I could lead remotely.
I wish the best of luck to our volleyball clubs for the upcoming club volleyball season as we embark on this unknown journey. We play an essential role in our athletes' mental and physical health during these uncertain times. Keep in mind that the more robust your management process, the better your organization will handle challenging situations and make the best decisions.
As most of you are aware, following the holiday season, the COVID-19 case numbers in our surrounding community are increasing, as they are throughout the country. Numbers have surged from travel as well as simple family gatherings. The Loudoun County positivity rate on PCR tests was 7.9% on November 24th, 12.1% on December 14th, and 17.5% on January 6th. In the past seven days, our facility was notified about 7 COVID exposures involving people who come into our facility regularly. While these exposures did not occur in the facility, they have led to possible exposures to others in the facility, resulting in teams to pause for 14 days. We wanted to take a moment to remind our NVVA families about our philosophy and commitment to preventing the spread of COVID-19.
When we reopened, we did so with care and caution, using guidance from both the CDC and the VDH to keep the COVID virus from spreading in our facility. From outdoor lessons to small groups, to a full LYV season, to our current club season, we have been clear in our mission to provide a safer arena for athletes to practice and develop their volleyball skills.
We have instituted several COVID-related protocols and procedures based on maintaining compliance with the Executive Orders issued by the Governor of Virginia. And while the summer and early fall months felt like a break in the seriousness of the virus, we are in the midst of an increased incidence of what can range from a mild illness to something that can devastate.
In light of these circumstances, we have had to make adjustments to our play and instruction style and have canceled a few scheduled tournaments at the beginning of January. We do not take these adjustments lightly. We continuously weigh the “normalcy” of the season with the repercussions of not taking the virus seriously. We continue to follow the philosophy of protecting our athletes, coaches, and staff.
When we began the season, our intention to provide a safer youth sports environment was straightforward. It included a lighter tournament schedule that was left open to revision depending on the COVID circumstances at the time of tournaments. Currently, cases are rising; exposing our athletes to other organizations that might not follow the careful protocols we do is a concerning risk. While NVVA maintains our safety guidelines, we understand that our diligence is not always replicated in sports organizations throughout the county. As a result, other sports organizations structure their practices and competitions differently. We understand that this can be confusing and frustrating, as well as difficult to enforce safety guidelines with young athletes.
You, as parents, are integral to our continued success through this pandemic. Here are two things that you can do to help keep our community safer:
Encourage your athletes to not only follow the guidelines but to understand the reasoning behind them. This sets an expectation that they maintain proper social protocols for when they are with their team.
If you have an issue involving a possible exposure or an athlete experiencing any COVID-like symptoms, please use our online COVID-19 Self Reporting Form as soon as possible. Reporting through this form notifies us immediately, and we can begin taking any necessary actions for the team, coaches, or facility.
We can not overstress how these two things are an integral part of our safety net. We appreciate your efforts in ensuring that your family does their part.
Thank you for your trust in our organization, and have a great new year!