Fwd: New SFBC Guidelines Around Caving with COVID-19

SFBC is proud to announce that with appropriate safety protocols, we’re starting to cave again! Take a look at the guidelines below for details.
———- Forwarded message ——— From: Carly Robison <carly@sfbaycaving.org> Date: Tue, Apr 27, 2021 at 9:44 PM Subject: New SFBC Guidelines Around Caving with COVID-19 To: SF Bay Caving <sfbc@sfbaycaving.org>, New Cavers of SFBC < newcavers@sfbaycaving.org>
Please read all the guidelines, especially if you are planning on organizing a trip or event. The key here is communicating expectations and enforcing them, so potential participants can accurately assess risk and choose what opportunities they choose to partake in. Participants, please ask clarification questions!
Best, Carly on behalf of the SFBC Execs
———————– SFBC Policies, in short, in no particular order

Don’t get sued. –
Don’t get sick, but if you do, be able to contact trace. –
Follow public health guidelines –
Make every situation safer –
Communicate expectations {masks, outdoors, distanced, group size, time, vaccinations, any shared equipment}
SFBC policies, in long form
Don’t get sued. Make sure everyone signs an updated liability form.
Don’t get sick. We don’t want our members to get sick, so it’s important to stay vigilant and make every situation as safe as reasonably possible. Don’t cave when sick. Vaccines reduce the risks of being a carrier, getting sick, getting hospitalized, and dying, to the point that the CDC has said it’s fine for vaccinated people to hang out with each other without any safety protocols. Many of our most vulnerable members have been vaccinated for months.
Contact Tracing. Usually this is easy with the email thread you were using to coordinate the trip, and people should be signing waivers so you have a record of who was present. Trip leaders should keep this information for a month.
Follow public health guidelines. Bay Area county departments of health have provided strong guidance for activities, and have adjusted these guidelines based on the present risk. Case rates are an important factor in the risk of any interaction, and local guidelines change to match. By following local, state, and federal guidelines, we can keep our risk to acceptable levels. We must also keep in mind that many of our caves are in different counties, and follow their rules as well.
Make every situation safer. For SFBC-sanctioned gatherings (and ones advertised on the mailing list), we expect participants to be taking applicable precautions, such as a snug two layer mask, small groups, shorter trips, doing orientation and prep outside, and distancing, wherever safe and possible.
Communicate safety protocols. At this moment, trip leaders/hosts can make whatever rules they would like (including about vaccination status), but they must clearly communicate their expectations for each safety layer so that their potential participants can adequately assess risk, and they must use any SFBC resources (including the mailing list) only for trips in compliance with our guidelines (see activities below).
Cater to the most covid-conscious caver. When an activity can be done in a safer way, we should do so. For example, our members’ meetings should continue to be held virtually so that everyone can participate regardless of risk tolerance and vaccination status. SFBC Sanctioned ActivitiesMembers Meetings
Virtual members meetings allow everyone, regardless of health, risk tolerance, or physical location, to attend. We should continue to have purely virtual members meetings at least until the library lets us back.

We can continue to occasionally hold virtual meetings because they allow us to network and get presentations from cavers all over.

We can also continue to provide a virtual option (streaming etc) for members.
Vertical Practices
There is significant benefit to in-person beginner and advanced vertical practices, and we should incorporate these in-person as we have willing hosts/organizers. Hosts and vertical practice organizers should work together to set the expected safety protocols, gathering size, and other expectations.

Shared equipment means excellent hand hygiene should be practiced. Participants should bring their own hand sanitizer. –
Typically, vertical practices involve working closely (3ft) with another person. This can be done distanced, but there are certain situations that could necessitate temporarily being closer than 6’ for safety. Participants must be informed of this possibility. Participants will discuss personal risk tolerances at the event so that everyone’s on the same page re: masking etc.

[State Required] Masks, at least as good as a snug two-layer cotton mask, must be worn within 6 feet of anyone from a different household. –
[Local required] Distance as much as possible. –
[Local recommended] Vertical practices should take place outdoors if possible and potlucks discouraged according to local guidance. Participants should come dressed accordingly. Hosts should figure out if they’re okay with participants briefly using the bathroom. –
[Local recommended] Hosts and organizers should figure out the maximum size. Hosts and organizers should also figure out if vaccination status is a criteria. RSVPs required.
We should continue to offer virtual vertical practices until everyone over 16 who wants to get vaccinated has had the chance (June). If there is subsequent additional interest in virtual vertical practices, we can continue them, or move that content to a members’ meeting.
Typical Mailing List Caving Trips
Trips posted to the mailing list must:

Describe the cave’s nature, trip’s time, group size, and any skills required (as normal) –
Explicitly call out any coronavirus-related risks (will everyone be wearing masks? are the passages tight so you need to be close to each other? Is there water present that would make masking dangerous? are people vaccinated?) –
List any additional expectations about safety protocols for the trip –
Describe any mitigations associated with logistics/getting to-and-from-caves (e.g. car shuttle expectations)
Discussions about COVID-19 protocols should happen prior to the trip/as early as possible.
If you are cross-posting a caving opportunity from another list, make sure the email addresses these risks or the trip leader is prepared to answer these questions. Trustee Trips
Any SFBC trustee trips must additionally follow the guidelines required by the land management. Trip leaders will make every effort to understand all the applicable restrictions and communicate them to participants prior to the trip.