Mid-South Community Notice 3/14/2020

Usually this type of communication comes in the form of a “Weeklish Newsletter” via email to our members. We are making our communication more transparent and available to our greater fencing community who will be impacted by the rapid social changes occurring and our club’s schedule. Thank you in advance for taking care of and supporting each other. 

Dear Fencing Community:

In the past week, while the Club has been open, Jeff and I want to thank our staff or “holding down the fort” while we participated in the Athens World Cup and took a short vacation to Santorini, Greece. While returning home yesterday, we watched the United States shut down via social media. New information about the coronavirus COVID-19 and its spread appear hourly and we are gathering and digesting a lot of information fast. We want to be proactive, not reactive to our community.  The steps we implemented previewed in the last community newsletter are still recommended, but it is clear future and seemingly drastic steps need to be taken in order to protect our community and lessen the impact on our healthcare system as the virus spreads.

As many or you are aware, the Club has stepped up its daily cleaning routine, along with a deep cleaning of all uniforms, masks, and other equipment.  Our actions anticipated the steps outlined by the National Office of USA Fencing in emails and social media blasts just this Friday night. So far, we have no reports anyone yet has been personally impacted by the virus in our fencing community. But, here is what we are doing next:

Saturday (today) we will have Coaches Stephen, Chris and Cathleen leading our normal class schedule and offering lessons on demand. The 9:30am fitness will be a group led run. We know many of you are opting out of class participation already, in addition to the social distancing protocols in place. Thank you for your notes and keeping us aware of your thoughts and personal decisions about how to keep your family safe. We hear you. Jeff and I are taking extra precautions to stay away due to our potential travel exposure. We feel fine! Just taking extra measures, so we will not see you today.

Sunday we will have a virtual staff meeting to plan for modifications. Expect communication about our plan on Monday to include online seminars, individual training schedules and small group planning. We are looking at this an an opportunity to help bring fencing into the 21st century and our commitment to providing you a meaningful athletic experience, even if training needs to continue at home. We have a talented tech team within our coaching staff and Club community and with their help we will pioneer fencing learning.

Also, you may be aware that USA Fencing has recently directed all Divisions and Clubs not to sanction any competitions (all levels) from March 16 to until April 6th.  This means that any events on the local, regional, or national calendar have been postponed or cancelled until the April 6th date. We will be cancelling Priority on Youth #4 as a result.  The April NAC and the Ned Light RYC are still on the calendar but we are also now preparing for worst case scenarios for our club should our communities not be able to effectively mitigate the transmission of the virus. The qualification and registration deadlines for the Summer Nationals and July Qualifiers have been extended.

Thank you as well for asking about us (Jeff and Jen) while we were in Greece last week.  The World Cup was an amazing experience in so many ways. Sky Miller did a great job in a very difficult field, she went 2-4 (nearly 4-2!) in her pools, made the cut to the Direct Elimination round. We have much video and many ideas for training for our team, and we are looking forward to sharing with you. (Go ahead and set up that Zoom account if you haven’t already!)

Seeing Mariel Zagunis win and qualify for her fifth (5!) Olympics — as well as outstanding performances by the rest of the U.S. Women’s Saber Team (which has qualified for the Olympics as a team)– was exciting.  The vacation Jeff and I took was our first in over five years, just the two of us. We hiked a caldera, ate fresh seafood, enjoyed fresh cuisine, and enjoyed postcard sunsets in reality. We are grateful to our team for running the Club in our absence and to you for keeping the flame lit. We know we are going to need our entire community to keep us going through this unprecedented time. The path going forward will challenge us, but we will find our way. I am grateful to all members of Mid-South Fencers’ Club and to the larger community for the considerable displays of care that we have seen. Thank you!

Jen and Jeff