Move to Phase 3 within a COVID Environment
From the desk of BGen D.B. Cochrane, Comd Natl CJCR Sp Gp…
Despite Canadian society’s ability to mitigate the health risks posted by COVID-19 through public health measures, testing and contact tracing, it remains unknown when, and how, the situation in Canada may support a full return to normalcy.
COVID-19 will remain a threat to the Canadian public for the foreseeable future. It will require increased vigilance, and deliberate planning as we prepare to safely resume limited in-person activities.
The conditions forced upon us by this pandemic have provided us with a unique opportunity to determine how we can deliver our programs in a safe and effective manner, despite the challenges of social isolation and physical distancing.
The Cadet Program has built a reputation for providing youth with experiences they can’t get anywhere else, and 2020 will be no exception. Although the safety and security of all who participate in our programs will remain my top priority, I have directed my staff to begin exploring the conditions upon which limited in-person activities may resume. These conditions will not only ensure our safety, but the safety of the communities we serve. I am committed to ensuring that the Cadet and JCR programs do not become a vector for transmission of this virus.
To this end, I have issued a Tasking Order to augment our Campaign Plan, outlining the move to Phase 3 within a COVID environment for the 2020-2021 training year.
I recognize that the rules on public health measures issued by the Government of Canada, provinces, territories, regions, cities and municipalities may vary widely from location to location. However, the resumption of in-person cadet activities must adhere to the most restrictive guidelines provided by all levels of government. Activities will not be permitted to resume prior to the completion of the COVID-19 Awareness Course by all adult staff, and the issuing of non-medical masks from the organization.
Additional details of this plan are available from your respective chains of command. Some key points I would like to underscore include:
- No in-person activities will resume prior to 1 September 2020;
- Any mitigation efforts are to avoid solutions that incur costs to our League partners and sponsoring committees.
- There shall be no overnight component to any training activities or programs until further notice.
- Cadets and JCRs will not be disadvantaged for not completing aspects of the program due to physical distancing or public health measures.
- International travel will not be authorized, including travel to the United States prior to 31 August 2021, to include exchanges and recreational trips.
- An insurance waiver may need to be signed by all participants of the Cadet Program.
- No in-person fundraising activities involving cadets or adult staff will be authorized.
Although these directives may seem restrictive, I am happy to announce that I have also directed each region to trial the one-week General Training (GT) day course during the 2021 March Break, with intent to implement this initiative on a larger scale for the 2021 summer training period, circumstances permitting.
This information is not exhaustive. Corps and Squadron Commanding Officers are encouraged to consult the detailed tasking order that has been sent to them via email to ensure they are taking all necessary precautions to ensure the safety and security of all who are involved in the Cadet Program.
As we move forward into the unknown, I am confident that the many CIC officers, members of COATS, civilian volunteers, instructors and most importantly cadets and JCRs, will continue to display the courage and determination that has become a hallmark of the Cadet and JCR programs.
Questions and Answers
Q. Despite everything that we have heard, we are still not comfortable allowing our cadets to participate in in-person activities. Will they be penalized or held back?
A. No. Cadets will not be penalized or disadvantaged for not completing aspects of the program due to in-person activity limitations.
Q. My entire corps/squadron have non-medical masks (procured, donated etc.). Are we able to start up activities on the 1st of September?
A. Non-medical masks are one of the requirements for cadet corps and squadrons to begin in-person activities. Corps and Squadron Commanding Officers should consult their chain of command to ensure the non-medical masks meet the proper requirements prior to starting activities.
Q. Does my Corps/Squadron need to observe physical distancing and maximum room capacity if all participants are wearing non-medical masks?
A. Yes, physical distancing shall be required. Precautions such as the wearing of non-medical masks are only one aspect of ensuring the safety of all who participate in the Cadet Program.
Q. How will we conduct our attraction campaigns in the fall if in-person activities not permitted/limited in my area?
A. Additional electronic products to assist cadet corps and squadrons with their fall attraction campaigns will be made available shortly.
Q. There have been no instances of COVID-19 in my community for weeks now. Can we begin in-person activities right now?
A. No. In order to ensure the safety of all who participate in our programs, no in-person activities will be permitted prior to the 1st of September 2020.
Q. If in-person activities are allowed to start up, why can’t we begin in-person fundraising while following the same precautions?
A. Limited in-person training activities ensure there are proper records taken in the event of an outbreak, and contact tracing becomes necessary. In-person fundraising activities generally require a higher level of community interaction that would make contact tracing difficult, if not impossible, and increases the risk of the Cadet program becoming a vector of transmission for COVID-19.
Q. Why can activities take place in one part of Canada and not the other?
A. The re-opening of society and resumption of normal activities will be dependent upon the conditions in different regions throughout Canada. In-person cadet activities will be permitted provided the most restrictive guidelines provided by federal, provincial and municipal public health agencies are followed, in addition to the restrictions outlined within Tasking Order 001 to the Campaign Plan.
Q. I live in an area with an active outbreak of COVID-19. Am I obligated to begin in-person activities?
A. No. The safety of all who participate in the Cadet program is our top priority. Corps and squadron commanding officers are encouraged to make decisions to begin limited in-person activities taking into account local public health measures, and in consultation with their sponsors, league representatives and chain of command.
Q. How will we run a program in the fall if in-person activities are still not permitted in my area?
A. Training delivery within a COVID environment will continue to rely heavily on information technology as virtual opportunities. Corps and squadron commanding officers are encouraged to consult their chain of command to see what options may be available to support the delivery of training in a virtual environment.
Q. If there are no overnight activities permitted, does this mean that we cannot conduct field training exercises?
A. No. Local day activities without an overnight stay are still permitted, provided ground transportation is carried out in accordance with the travel restrictions set out in Tasking Order 001 to the Campaign Plan.
Q. My Corps/Squadron is scheduled to travel outside of Canada for a recreational trip during the 2020-2021 training year. Will it be permitted to proceed?
A. There will be no international travel approved for cadet training and recreational activities during the 2020-2021 training year. It is recommended the cadet corps and squadrons explore cancellation options in light of the pandemic. Furthermore, it is recommended that cadet corps and squadrons refrain from planning any international recreational trips until further notice.
Q. My Corps/Squadron is scheduled to travel domestically for a recreational trip. Will that trip be permitted to proceed?
A. recreational trips will be restricted to a distance within 1 hour of travel from the corps/sqn parade location. No overnight recreational trips will be authorized for the 2020-2021 training year.
Q. My cadet was slated to attend summer training during the summer of 2020. Will they receive priority for the March Break training session?
A. The criteria for selection of both course cadets and staff cadets will be announced at a later date.
Q. Are there any special precautions or protocol to follow when we start up in-person activities?
A. Yes. In addition to the restrictions outlined here, there are a number of protocols to be put in place prior to the start-up of in-person cadet activities. Cadet corps and squadron commanding officers are required to consult Tasking Order 001 to the Campaign Plan prior to any in-person activities taking place.