A view above the 2022 Summer Nationals. (Photo by Serge Timacheff)
Editor’s note: This article details one of several impactful decisions made by USA Fencing’s Board of Directors during its annual summit in Colorado Springs. In order to give each decision the detail it deserves, we will be highlighting them individually throughout the week.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — After reviewing feedback from our members, analyzing practices in other sports and consulting with our health partners, USA Fencing is announcing that, effective immediately, all tournament attendees — including competitors, officials, coaches and spectators — are no longer required to show proof of vaccination at USA Fencing national tournaments.
Local and regional tournaments may still require vaccines, but only if required by local or state regulations. We recommend checking with tournament organizers to determine which policies might apply to the local or regional event you’re attending.
As the pandemic continues to evolve, we encourage our members to wear masks, practice good hand hygiene, and receive vaccines and updated boosters to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other contagious diseases. We also encourage members to check for symptoms and take a self-test before traveling — whether they have symptoms or not (as some people can be positive and be asymptomatic).
We also will continue to allow members to upload their vaccination status to their member portal if they choose and will continue to maintain our existing database of vaccinated members. This will be especially helpful in the unlikely event we reinstate the vaccination requirement in the future.
Health and safety regulations have loosened across the country and around the world over the past several months. As those changes began, USA Fencing heard feedback from our members about the vaccine mandate that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.
In response to this feedback and the evolving regulatory landscape, we began consulting with Dr. Peggy Chin, our Director of Sports Medicine, as well as our medical partners at Mount Sinai about our vaccine requirement and whether modifications should be made.
Here are a few of our findings to help summarize the rationale for the decision to remove the vaccine mandate:
Armed with this information, USA Fencing determined that removing our vaccination requirement would not put attendees at increased risk of severe illness while attending USA Fencing tournaments.
These factors were presented to and discussed by the USA Fencing Board of Directors at our annual board meeting, held Oct. 29 and 30 at USA Fencing’s headquarters in Colorado Springs. The Board voted to take the measures outlined above
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