(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – As clubs around the nation reopen, USA Fencing is committed to implementing an events schedule for the 2020-21 season that allows for the return to competition in four phases, focusing first on local events and progressing to regional and national events as it becomes safe to do so.
On Aug. 1, USA Fencing allowed for the sanctioning of local events through the use of the Health and Safety Best Practices for Resumption of Events during Phase 1. As different areas of the nation have different circumstances regarding local and state restrictions as well as the prevalence of COVID-19, USA Fencing divisions have discretion regarding when they choose to allow for sanctioning of local events in their area.
Beginning on Oct. 1, USA Fencing will resume regional events over the course of a three-month span. In order to minimize travel and allow for athletes to readjust to competition again, during Phase 2, athletes may only compete in events within their region. Regional Youth Circuit and Regional Junior and Cadet Circuit Events will begin on Oct. 1 and Regional Open Circuit events will begin on Nov. 1.
Phase 3 will begin on Dec. 1 with the start of the Super Youth Circuit and Super Junior and Cadet Circuit seasons and will allow for athletes to compete in regional events in any region of the country.
National events, including North American Cups and National Championships will be introduced during Phase 4 which will start no earlier than Jan. 1, 2021.
It is important to remember that, as the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve throughout the United States and around the world, that these phases and timelines may be subject to change. Further, all events will be compliant with local, state and federal guidelines regarding restrictions on the size of gatherings, allowance for sports events, etc. Should any tournaments be cancelled after the start of registration, athletes will be granted refunds. USA Fencing also is working with regional tournament organizers to implement a process with which to conduct registration when maximum event sizes are implemented in order to be in compliance with local, state and federal guidelines.
The October, November and December North American Cups will be postponed. USA Fencing has created a tournament task force that includes athletes, coaches, tournament organizers, club owners, division officers, medical and epidemiological experts and representatives from the Referees’ Commission and Tournament Committee. This task force will finalize a new national events schedule for 2021 with an emphasis on athlete safety and appropriate event combinations and will review national tournament health and safety protocols. The updated national events schedule will be released in early fall. For those who booked their hotel rooms for the October, November or December North American Cups through GroupHousing, these rooms will automatically be cancelled and you do not have to contact GroupHousing to do so.
“We know fencers of all ages are looking forward to returning to regional and national competitions, but we want to make sure that this return is implemented in the safest manner possible for all involved, including our athletes, coaches, volunteers and tournament staff,” said USA Fencing Senior Director of Sports Operations Christine Strong-Simmons. “Particularly as we bring back national events in 2021, these events may look different in terms of size and structure from what we have all come to know; however, we are hopeful that any changes we implement will help keep the USA Fencing family safe while still having the opportunity to compete in the sport we all love.”