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BJJ Black Belt & Doctor’s 6 Step Guidelines for Reopening BJJ Academies During COVID-19

BJJ Black Belt & Doctor’s 6 Step Guidelines for Reopening BJJ Academies During COVID-19

The current COVID-19 situation in the world is a very serious one; people are getting sick, oftentimes critically, and countries are attempting to fight the disease by going through extreme lockdown procedures. These procedures have, unfortunately, changed the BJJ landscape as well – the academies are closed and training has, for the most part, come to a sudden stop.

As the coronavirus continues to spread, fitness & Martial arts gyms around the country are shutting their doors and adjusting to a new reality.

The fitness industry which includes Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academies, is most exposed to coronavirus-related revenue

BJJ instructors and gym owners should start preparing today for the reopening days. We will be approaching days of a new normal, with new habits – especially for those who train grappling.

BJJ black belt (former high level competitor) and doctor Chris Moriarty wrote a very interesting 6 step approach on his facebook page for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academies to reopen during Covid-19

Guidelines for Reopening Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academies During COVID-19 

• Phase 1: No training
1. The purpose of Phase 1 for jiu jitsu academies is to give them time to prepare for Phase 2:
 Determine solo drill class schedule
 Determine number of staff members necessary to run each class (i.e. someone screening students for entry; someone assisting with mat ingress and egress, and enforcing locker room policy; and the instructor)
 Set up hand sanitizing stations
 Demarcate the mats to allow for solo training and determine how many students the mat space will accommodate with the 6’x6’ restriction
 Determine mat ingress and egress
 Set up online sign-ups for solo drill classes
 Set up instructor-led solo drill (and/or grapping dummy curriculum)

• Phase 2: May open gym for instructor-led solo drills with 36 square feet of clearly demarcated mat space separating each student provided that:
1. A normal temperature is obtained for every person entering the academy for every class he or she enters
 A temporal or oral thermometer may be used
 Normal temperature will be defined as < 37.6 °C (< 99.3 °F) • Note that fever is normally defined as a temperature > 38 °C (< 100.4 °F)1. However, it seems logical to set the threshold for Brazilian jiu jitsu training lower given the following:
o Changes in normal body temperature throughout the day
o “A forehead (temporal) scanner is usually 0.5°F (0.3°C) to 1°F (0.6°C) lower than an oral temperature.”2
2. Each person entering the gym confirms the following:
 No symptoms of COVID-19 within the last 14 days including3:
• Fever
• Cough
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• Chills
• Repeated shaking with chills
• Muscle pain
• Headache
• Sore throat
• New loss of taste or smell
 No known contacts with anyone testing positive for COVID-19 within the past 14 days (this includes all healthcare workers participating in the care of COVID-19 patients)
 Has complied with the following social distancing guidelines4 for the last 14 days:
• Staying at least 6 feet away from others during shopping at the grocery store or pharmacy
• Wearing a cloth mask covering the nose and mouth when out in public
• Avoiding “large and small gatherings in private places and public spaces, such a friend’s house, parks, restaurants, shops, or any other place”
• Work from home when possible
 Is neither a member of nor lives with a member of a population uniquely vulnerable to COVID-19 including:
• “People 65 years and older
• People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
• People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:
• People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
• People who have serious heart conditions
• People who are immunocompromised
• People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
• People with diabetes
• People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
• People with liver disease”5
3. No more than one person is allowed into the changing/locker room at a time
4. Hands must be washed or disinfected with hand sanitizer prior to stepping onto the mat after removing shoes

• Phase 3: Two scenarios are possible:
1. No additional COVID-19 RT-PCR testing capacity in the area in which the academy is located → NO CHANGE
2. Additional COVID-19 RT-PCR testing capacity is available in the area in which the academy is located to test asymptomatic persons without specific risk factors for COVID-19 (meaning anyone can get a test for any reason) → Instructors and students may begin sparring IF BOTH partners can confirm a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test within the previous 24 hours (once the rapid version of the test is available in a testing center near the academy).
 Note: It is unlikely that obtaining a daily RT-PCR test for COVID-19 will be logistically possible or affordable for most students for the foreseeable future. However, it may be possible to obtain such a test 1-2 times per week. This might make it possible for students wishing to spar to agree to 1-2 blocks of time per week for sparring immediately prior to which they could be tested.

• Phase 4 (an addendum specifically addressing the unique risk imposed by Brazilian jiu jitsu)
• Definition: No cases of person-to-person transmission of COVID-19 within the county (if rural) or major metropolitan area within which an academy is located for the last 14 days OR widespread testing is available (as specified in Phase 3 above)
• All instructors and students meeting the criteria specified in Phase 2 above may begin to partner training, including sparring.
• Class size should remain below 50% capacity
• Students and instructors who live with or are members of a vulnerable population may return for instructor-led solo drills (as specified in Phase 2)

• Phase 5 (an addendum specifically addressing the unique risk imposed by Brazilian jiu jitsu)
• Definition: No cases of person-to-person transmission of COVID-19 within the county (if rural) or major metropolitan area within which an academy is located for the last 14 days OR widespread testing is available (as specified in Phase 3 above)
• All instructors and students meeting the criteria specified in Phase 2 (including those who live with or are members or a vulnerable population) above may begin to partner training, including sparring.
• Class size may return to normal

• Phase 6 (an addendum specifically addressing the unique risk imposed by Brazilian jiu jitsu)
• Definition: No local cases of COVID-19 (including those being treated in hospitals) within the within the county (if rural) or major metropolitan area within which an academy is located for the last 14 days (as specified in Phase 3 above)
• Healthcare workers previously treating COVID-19 patients may return to training
• Special situation: Students and instructors with presumed immunity to COVID-19
• Definition: Students/instructors who were confirmed (via COVID-19 RT-PCR) to have been infected with COVID-19, subsequently recovered, and are confirmed to carry (via serology testing) anti-COVID-19 IgM AND IgG (via serology testing)
 Positivity for IgM alone does NOT qualify for immunity for the purposes of these guidelines.
 This definition does NOT apply to those without symptomatic history AND previous positive RT-PCR test, who were able to obtain a serological test (i.e. for study purposes) which was found to be positive for IgM or IgG against COVID-19.
• All instructors and students meeting this definition may be allowed to train among themselves separately from the other students to whom the above phases apply.

References
1. https://www.uptodate.com/…/pathophysiology-and-treatment-of…
2. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/tw9223
3. https://www.cdc.gov/…/2019-n…/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html
4. https://www.cdc.gov/…/prevent-gettin…/social-distancing.html
5. https://www.cdc.gov/…/need-extra…/people-at-higher-risk.html

https://www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica/

Stephan Kesting speaking to Chris Moriarty on this subject:

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