In all sincerity, we don’t want anyone to feel obligated to attend any SCA activities during the pandemic.

Please take this to heart!

During the pandemic we will have additional safety measures and modifications to our existing procedures. We are not reducing our protective gear, just the process of checking it.

Due to decreased attendance during the pandemic, some groups may not be able to hold practices due to insufficient attendance.

This is part of the Ansteorra Reopen Plan for martial activities.

Within the Kingdom of Ansteorra YouTube Channel you can find the recordings for: Session on June 14, 2020 (1.25 hours)

What we expect of our attendees and why

  • Until further notice, all martial activities must be outdoors
    • Those groups that only had indoor practices will need to find a new location such as public parks
  • Participants (combatants, marshals, archers, equestrians, etc) and spectators must wear a face mask or equivalent covering the mouth and nose
    • COVID is transmitted via respiratory droplets that land in another person’s mouth or nose and are best defeated at the source (e.g. when people exhale)
  • Limit group sizes based on state, tribal, and local government guidance
    • Reduce our populace possibly having issues with local law enforcement
    • Reduce the SCA from potentially having issues with site owners and to keep our positive community engagement and affordable sites
  • Accurately acknowledging the health screening
    • Reduce common potential transmission vectors from our populace even when asymptomatic
  • Asking (and if necessary commanding) people with obvious COVID-like symptoms to leave
    • People who appear to be actively sick are risking our populace’s well being
    • Be polite, but be insistent, that they are to leave
  • Keeping clear open space between groups of people and martial activities
    • As the primary risk is from extended prolonged exposure to respiratory particulates to be infected, increasing space further reduces the potential of transmission.
  • No minor participation in Phases 1 and 2
    • Due to the increased burden of keeping an eye on minor participants following our safety rules in addition to reopen guidance such as keeping masks over their mouth and nose
  • Limit loaner equipment in Phase 1
    • This is potentially the highest period of risk for infection because of recent infection levels
  • Require any used loaner equipment to be disinfected between individuals in Phases 2 and 3
    • Eliminate a potential transmission vector by sharing equipment, especially helms, masks and hoods, that could be a transmission vector
    • If groups want to do extended loans of equipment to well known members without their own equipment, they are permitted to do this based on their local financial policies
    • If groups do not want the headache of disinfection between uses, they can eliminate loaner equipment use in Phases 2 and 3, but be aware of the potential lack of recruitment given the potential long timeframe of Phase 3 until the Pandemic status is lifted by CDC within America
  • No sharing of food or drink.
    • Single serving commercially pre-packaged food and drinks are allowed. 
    • Reduce common transmission vectors for common virus and bacteria during a time of heightened concern

What we enforce and some methods how

  • Face masks covering mouth and nose or equivalent
    • This is an absolute requirement for all attendees at martial practices, be they a marshal, combatant, archer, spectator, …
    • Anyone who refuses to wear a face masks properly are to be asked politely, but insistently, to leave until they can adhere to this requirement (See Compliance issues below for actions)
    • If anyone notices a mask slip during participation (particularly combat), a hold should be called in order to fix their mask
    • If someone needs to take a break from wearing a mask for any reason, they need to separate from the activity by at least 10′ before taking it off
    • Solid barriers, such as clear plastic, on helms or fencing masks should cover from below the chin to above the mid-nose in order to create a barrier for the respiratory droplets to be blocked
      • Individuals using these will need to put a face mask on when taking off their helm
  • Health screening
    • Everyone must acknowledge the Ansteorra Health Screening Questionnaire – anyone who answers yes or refuses to answer is required to leave
      • This can be individually or as a group
    • Place the health screening questionnaire where it is easily read without physical contact by attendees (e.g. on a table they can walk up to)
    • Anyone, but particularly warranted marshals (local or authorizing), should politely, but insistently, ask anyone with obvious COVID-like symptoms to leave
      • People with pre-existing issues, such as seasonal allergies or asthma, are not to be penalized unless showing other symptoms of COVID
  • Waivers
    • Paper waivers are currently necessary, so place the waiver where it can easily be signed with minimal physical contact by attendees (e.g. on a table they can walk up to)
      • Encourage people to use their own pen if they have one
    • If an electronic signature waiver is made available, it shall be the only method for all attendees
  • Group sizes and distance between groups
    • To help local law enforcement, maintain at least 10′ (more when available) between groups of individuals to meet the size limitations
    • If additional people show up exceeding the group limitation, split into somewhat even sizes to allow everyone to participate equally
    • If non-SCA spectators show up, have one person great them and explain our Society and the measures we are taking to reduce our risk of potential COVID transmission
  • Martial activities specifics
    • No combat of any style during Phase 1
    • No minor participation during Phase 1 nor 2
    • No youth armored or rapier combat during Phases 1 and 2
    • Anyone should call hold for an face-to-face combat that has gone on for an extended period in order to reset to default starting distance due to increased risk associated with close contact
    • During the pandemic if a local jurisdiction reduces physical contact, there is a Society Marshal variance for inspections such as:
      • Visual inspections may be substituted for what would normally be a manual inspection
        • tugging on or pushing armor, weapons – the participant conducts the action, and the marshal observes
        • “take off your helmet/mask and show me” it is well constructed, properly padded and strapped (marshal does not touch the equipment)
        • “show me your kidney protection” in case the protection is not visible
        • “show me your gorget” in case the area is obscured by a bib, or aventail/hood
      • Variations on standard procedures to avoid physical contact
        • a marshal’s staff may be used in place of a hand on a helmet or mask to determine if any part of the face touches the face plate or mask
        • participant passes their weapon through a marshal’s gauge, rather than the marshal doing so
        • participant demonstrates that a weapon, projectile or armor is soundly constructed by performing the actions a marshal would normally perform, under the observation of the marshal
      • Where no alternative is available, manual inspections are explicitly allowed to be done while wearing protective gloves, or reasonable disposable substitutes, such as plastic bags, so long as this complies with local restrictions.

Compliance issues

If someone refuses to wear appropriate face covering or won’t leave when showing COVID-like symptoms, there needs to be an escalating level of insistence from asking to telling to reporting these individuals. The Crown, Kingdom Seneschal and Earl Marshal are all in agreement that sanctions will be swift and severe because the risks associate with failing to comply are too high.

  • If someone is not following the COVID guidance (e.g. wearing a mask, refusing to answer the health screening, etc) give increasing insistence of need to comply such as:
    1. Politely ask them to follow the rules
    2. Inform them that failure to follow the rules will have repercussions from the Crown, Earl Marshal or Kingdom Seneschal – individual sanction or branch practices disallowed
    3. Insist that they follow the rules or the practice will be cancelled and they will be reported up to kingdom
    4. Announce that practice is cancelled due to failure to meet COVID guidance
      • Don’t name the individual
    5. Immediately report the individual with details to your up-line copying the relevant kingdom marshal and Earl Marshal for sanctions
  • If individuals start harassing others for attending or not attending practices, report them immediately to the Kingdom Seneschal for potential bully investigation
  • Methods to get additional support and documentation:
    • Use your phone to video record the interaction and include it in your report – send it right away so action can be taken quickly
    • Request assistance from these common groups for backing:
      • Territorial Nobility
      • Royal Family (Crown, Heirs, Dukes, Duchesses, Counts, Countess, etc)
      • Member of any Peerage (Chivalry, Order of Defense, Laurels, Pelicans)
      • Members of grant orders (Centurions, White Scarves/Blades of Merit, Arc d’Or, etc)

What we do not enforce

  • At-risk individuals in attendance
    • It is not our place to ask people’s age nor health issues
  • Recording who is in attendance at practices
    • All SCA activities will be closed if we are notified via a tracing program of someone who attended being positively tested and broad communication will be sent without details of the infected person’s name in alignment with general industry protocols
    • Keeping a roster of attendees could cause accidental disclosure of the infected person’s identity via elimination of those not infected

Reporting and communication

  • Review Reopen status weekly to determine branch status and changes in guidance
  • Work with appropriate branch officers to update practice information (e.g. website, group calendar, Facebook events, etc)
  • After each practice, marshals and participants should fill out COVID feedback on practices to gather information on challenges and potential risks for events
  • On recurring report indicate current status of branch practices (occurring or not, size, etc)

 

Petition Process

While these types of situations are rare within the kingdom, they have existed from time to time when needing to address challenges within branches. With the reopening, these are not intended to be the standard process for branches resuming practices, but only when the local marshal has been unable to find an acceptable deputy or been closing practices for multiple weeks due to COVID risks in disagreement with the kingdom guidance.

The appeal will follow the standard chain of complaint/appeal meaning: regional -> deputy kingdom marshal -> Earl Marshal -> Crown -> Society Officer -> Board of Directors

How the process works:

  1. Four (4) or more participants of the same martial form write to the up-line officer (regional for rapier or armored, deputy kingdom for target archery, thrown weapons, equestrian, youth armored combat or youth rapier combat) with the following supporting information:
    • Modern names of all participants
    • Society names of all participants
    • Email address of all participants
    • Membership numbers and expirations of all participants, if available
    • Copy of participants’ authorization cards
    • Experience of all participants, including experience in martial activity and marshaling background
    • Which participant is requesting appointment as interim branch marshal deputy, until the branch marshal is able to return to practices, and their experience relevant to the role
    • Reason for requesting reopening
    • How will the group adhere to the requirements for practices, COVID enforcement, and reporting
  2. If the up-line officer does not respond within 5 week days (Monday-Friday) or denies the request, the participants may petition to the next step based on the standard chain of complaint/appeal. Include in this petition all of the above information, response(s) from up-line officer(s), as well as additional justification(s) in response to up-line officer(s) feedback.

What officers reviewing petitions should evaluate

  • Branch status allows the martial activity
  • Sufficient experience of the participants to be able to run a practice according to the Law
  • Sufficient knowledge and experience to be able to enforce COVID guidance
  • The person requesting to be appointed as interim branch marshal deputy meets the requirements for the role
  • Likelihood the person requesting to be appointed as interim branch marshal deputy will do regular reporting
  • Likelihood there will be regular attendance of enough participants to hold practices regularly
  • Other considerations such as:
    • Experience with other martial activities
    • Recognitions bestowed by the Crown for martial prowess
    • Previous held offices requiring recurring reporting