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    I know many people are concerned about the MWA Clinic and Covid risk.  We have put a lot of careful planning into this and if you feel like you would like to participate…we want you to!  If you have not communicated your desire to participate (Or withdrawl) to me via EMAIL please do.  Friday we assign our 45ish participants to the 9 instructors.  We can always use all the safety boaters we can get!!

    The following letter will provide you with a lot of information

    Don’t forget to make your campground reservations!!


    Greetings Clinic Participants:

    We are finalizing our plans to hold our 2020 Whitewater Clinic the weekend of 6-7 June, provided we have sufficient water to do so.  We have reviewed guidance from the American Canoe Association, the World Health Organization, the State of Missouri and local county health departments, the Forest Service, and the Silvermines Campground Hosts about managing coronavirus risks during the event, and we have prepared our own plan to enable the Clinic weekend to go as smoothly and safely as possible.  We have checked once again with the ACA about the date, and they have verified the Clinic will be a sanctioned and insured event, and instructors will receive credit for teaching at the Clinic, as usual.

    Since you are interested in whitewater paddling, you should already be familiar with the concept of “assumed risk” and “personal responsibility”.  Paddling whitewater comes with its own set of risks, which are best mitigated with proper training, equipment, experience and common sense.  Every time you get in your boat at the river, not to mention get in your car to drive to the river, or hike the trail while at the river, you are likely to encounter risks of all sorts, ranging from adverse river & weather conditions, to interactions with other people, to insect & reptile bites.  The current coronavirus pandemic adds to the mix, but by following the recommended guidelines we can lower the risk for everyone involved.

    We have assessed the risk of holding the event with respect to COVID-19 transmission, and consider it to be very low based on a WHO evaluation matrix.  There have only been a handful of positive coronavirus infections in Madison & Iron Counties, but participants coming from larger metropolitan areas are more likely to be a potential source of infection for others.  Because paddling is an outdoor sport, normally a non-contact activity, with participants spread out on the river, we believe the likelihood of transmission between participants is relatively low.  The 2020 Clinic will also be smaller than usual, helping to further spread out the participants.  We are going to request that all participants follow approved guidelines, and we will ensure that the caterer for the Saturday night dinner does the same.

    As a volunteer (non-medical) organization, there is only so much Missouri Whitewater can do or provide in terms of mitigation of the risk, so much of the responsibility will fall on all participants.  MWA can’t determine if you are in an “at-risk” category, but if you are a “senior” paddler, have a compromised immune system or medical conditions that make you more susceptible, you need to make the personal decision whether to participate, or to withdraw and perhaps join us in 2021.  If you have recently experienced any flu-like symptoms (or been exposed to others who have them), you need to stay home and consider joining us next year.

    The following guidelines are in effect for the 2020 Clinic:

    2 weeks ahead of Clinic – As you gather your gear for the clinic, begin to self-monitor your health, and the health of your family and other people you encounter.  If you or others close to you show any flu-like symptoms or other symptoms common to coronavirus, please let us know and withdraw from the event.  NOTE:  because the caterer will be purchasing food based on the numbers we give them ahead of the event, all withdrawals after 1 June will be subject to a $15 fee to pay for the meal.

    Clinic Weekend – We are not able to provide N95 or cloth breathing masks or hand sanitizer, so you are asked to bring your own, and to wear a mask when not on the river or eating.  When shuttling in vehicles, you are requested to wear your mask to protect yourself and others (or you may not be able to find a ride!).  (You might want to bring along a ziplock baggie to keep your mask dry while on the river.)  When we gather as a group on Saturday morning, we will ask people to spread out to maintain 1 meter distances, and ask that instructors & safety boaters continue that when we break up into smaller groups.  When we gather for dinner on Saturday night, plan to eat together but in larger circles to maintain suitable distancing.

    You should avoid sharing water bottles, food or other items with anyone not in your family.  Practice proper hygiene with sneezes or coughs, and wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer.  Bump paddles instead of shaking hands.  Bring your own coffee cup for Saturday morning coffee.

    If you begin feeling any flu-like symptoms during the weekend, you should notify your instructor or the Clinic Director, and withdraw & go home immediately.  (If you begin having breathing difficulties, you should seek immediate medical attention.)

    For 2 weeks after the Clinic – Following the Clinic, please notify the Clinic Director if you begin to show any flu-like or other coronavirus symptoms, or if you receive a positive test for COVID-19.  We will notify the other participants in your group, as well as all other Clinic participants, that they may have been exposed, so they can take appropriate actions.

    Clinic Agreement – As a participant in the annual MWA Clinic, you acknowledge that (1) by participating in the Clinic you understand that you may encounter certain risks, including potential exposure to COVID-19, and that (2) your participation in the Clinic confirms your acceptance of these risks, and that (3) you take responsibility for your exposure to these risks and the potential outcomes.

    If you are comfortable with these conditions (and we get enough water), then we look forward to seeing you on the river the weekend of June 6-7.  If you are uncomfortable with these conditions, you should withdraw and consider participating at a later time.  (Remember, all withdrawals after 1 June will be subject to a $15 fee to pay for the meal.)

    If you have questions about these policies or the Clinic, please let us know.  Thanks for your support!

    JoJo Newbold
    Clinic Director…and team

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