IOF approach to Covid-19 secure events

The Covid-19 pandemic has over the last year hit the world and changed the life conditions for most of us. Sports is heavily influenced and so is orienteering. Many competitions, on all levels and in all orienteering disciplines, have been cancelled to avoid the spread of the virus. Sports have however found ways of handling the situation and some sports have been able to return to competing. Particularly high-level competitions are back but as we all know, with plenty of restrictions and security measures. The first international high level IOF event to take place since early 2020 will be the World Ski Orienteering Championships 2021 in Estonia, kicking off with the sprint distance on 24th of February.

The Covid-19 precautions taken for The World Ski Orienteering Championships are significant and we can expect similar precautions for other coming larger IOF events. Taken precautions are leaning on two pillars; an IOF bulletin and an event bulletin specific for Covid-19 precautions.

To support the events, the IOF has developed a bulletin for Covid-19 precautions. The bulletin has been developed in collaboration with the IOF Medical experts Olli Heinonen and Katja Mjøsund, both highly experienced sport medical experts and with orienteering in their blood. The bulletin is general and valid for all orienteering disciplines. It is developed under the conditions valid in February 2021 and will be updated as larger changes of the pandemic and the precautions take place. Hopefully, it will not be needed for so long time. The bulletin can be found here: IOF Bulletin for Covid-19 precautions.

While the IOF bulletin is general, each organiser of a larger event is setting up a specific Covid-19 bulletin. This includes details like accommodation and arenas but also rules and recommendation on how to enter the country. Most sensitive are the rules for Covid-19 testing and rules if test is positive. The specific rules for the event are developed in collaboration with the local health authorities but also verified by the IOF medical experts. Learning from history, the details may change fast and the event specific Covid-19 bulletin may and up having several versions. As an example here is the Covid-19 Bulletin for the World Ski Orienteering Championships 2021.

The organisers of the World Ski Orienteering Championships 2021 and IOF held a common information meeting with team coaches on 11th of February. The presentation, which includes both the IOF general bulletin and the specific rules for the event was presented and discussed. The presentation, together with questions asked, is found here: Presentation 11th February.