We've had a lot of interest in the club over the past 3-4 months; which we are absolutely ecstatic about. I think I can speak for not just the club founders, but for all our instructors and members too, when I say that we would love to see all these new faces and catch up with our friends at practice. There's nothing we'd like more, frankly, for this all to be over and be able to fence with you all, new and old members alike.
But right now, we can't. More specifically, we won't. One of the fundamental tenets of the Tucson Historic Fencing Club is respecting and ensuring the safety of our fencing partners, and right now, the risk in Arizona is tremendously high. As of today, June 13th, Arizona is seeing the highest growth rate in COVID-19 cases (nearly twice the rate of other high risk states like Florida and Texas)[source] with 49% of the cases being in the predominant age demographic of the club (20-44 years)[source].
Not only that, but as emerging data shows us, even the non-fatal cases can be devastating to those infected. Cases even for otherwise young or healthy individuals have done irreparable damage to the lungs (Content warning: surgical images), and even more mild cases might take years to recover from [source].
In short, our official stance is that THFC finds any unnecessary exposure to be an irresponsible risk to yourself, your training partners, and your families. Train with those whom you live with, if you can; or on your own if you can't. If you need help finding resources, advice, or other support, don't hesitate to get involved on the club's Discord, where we're running weekly online classes and are happy to answer questions or provide advice wherever we can. We recognize the difficult positions our neighboring clubs in Phoenix and Mesa are experiencing, struggling between the financial position of having their own independent leases to pay and attempting to keep their membership safe, but THFC does not have that burden, and can instead focus on keeping with our tenets and attempting to be as responsible with the trust our members put in us as possible.
Stay safe out there, and we hope to be able to fence with you again as soon as it's safe to do so.
Tentative Guidelines for Re-Opening
Prior to resuming classes - at least 4 consistent weeks without an increase in COVID-19 cases in the state of Arizona
Access to a venue where students are capable of effective social distancing
Guidelines for class participation
New things members will need to provide for themselves
- Face Mask (washable cloth mask recommended over disposable surgical masks)
- Bag for all personal belongings (all belongings must be able to be stored in the bag if not on your person; this will make ensuring our space can remain clean as easy as possible)
- Evaluate yourself: Are you feeling at all ill? Symptomatic? If so, please remain home and contact us
- Please wear your face mask as you are coming into the building
- Place your personal belongings and bag in a designated location
- If you need any loaner equipment, please check it out and set it with your belongings before class
- Wash your hands/use hand sanitizer
- Sign in on the daily roster
- Masks should only ever be removed/lowered during class when necessary, such as getting water. Where possible, please only go to your belongings to get water separately from other members
- Removing equipment (especially fencing masks) should only be done with your belongings (again, separately from others in class wherever possible)
- Conversation and discussion during practice should be done at proper social distances (min. 6' between individuals wherever possible)
- Any loaner protective equipment needs to be placed in the containment location to be sanitized
- Loaner swords must be wiped down and returned to their appropriate location
- Stagger packing up and leaving as best as possible (If multiple exits from the building are available, consider trying to exit through both to ensure safe distancing as much as possible
- ONLY after leaving the building, remove your face mask fully