News :: URGENT - 2020.03.15 COVID Updates for Members

March 15, 2020

Attn: NACSW Hosts and Members


We wanted to provide you with another update relating to the COVID-19 virus and NACSW operations. For our original update, please visit: 2020.03.12 COVID Updates for Members.


Today the CDC announced that they “recommend that for the next 8 weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more”. Most NACSW events have at least 50 people once you include the competitors, volunteers, officials, facility people, spectators, etc. Additionally we are receiving feedback from our officials and volunteers that they are feeling uncomfortable with attending events, but feel obligated to attend. As a result, all NACSW ORTs and trials scheduled through May 10th will be cancelled. There will be no exceptions made for smaller events due to the concern for officials, volunteers, the facility, and the public. Event hosts will be in touch with competitors in the next two weeks to address refunds. We will continue to monitor CDC and government recommendations to determine if this policy should be extended.


Because of the extensive cancellations we have decided to delay the implementation of the rule that requires dogs to have completed all 3 ORTs to compete at all levels. This rule was to take effect on July 1. We will not be setting the new effective date until it becomes more clear when events will be resuming.


We have received questions from competitors relating to refunds from trials that are cancelled. This was addressed in the original update if you would like full details. To summarize, the posted cancellation policies do not allow for refunds in the case a trial is cancelled due to a public emergency. NACSW is recommending our hosts be generous with their refunds after recouping their expenses. We appreciate that our hosts are being so supportive of this.


As per the March 12th update, trials are being cancelled, not rescheduled. If you have an entry in a trial that is cancelled, it will not be applicable for future trials. We have no idea when or if the hosts will book another trial and if it will be at the same location or even of the same levels. Some have expressed frustration with this. We did not make this decision lightly and considered several options and the impact of the options. Most importantly we wanted a decision that was consistent and also considered the resources to implement. All trials through May 10th are cancelled and we expect it could extend beyond that timeframe. Just looking at the rest of March, April, and May there are 60 events. Our trial hosts are individuals, small businesses, or small clubs and the NACSW is a small business with limited financial and staffing resources. The pandemic is going to cause great financial strain on our hosts and the NACSW. We have no idea how long this situation will continue to affect our events and we hope to weather the loss of income over the next several months and be able to resume full operations when it’s over. 


There are several reasons we made the decision that entries can’t be applicable to future trials. Below are some details of our reasoning. Please remember that we understand that there are answers to most of these challenges, but we have to look at the big picture, the resources involved, and the potential for inconsistent implementation. While applying entries to a future trial may seem easy on the surface, there are too many different scenarios to consider.  


The first obstacle is who would get “credit”. Do we consider the original draw? Or the people who paid for an entry? If we go with those who paid, what about the people who withdrew a few days before due to concerns about the Coronavirus? What about the person who was first on the waitlist and the host hadn’t finished filling the last few cancelled spaces? 


Assuming we came up with a solution that made the least amount of people feel left out, one option considered was to give people preference in the trial that is perceived to be the “rescheduled” trial. What if it’s at another location? What if it’s 15 months from now? If it’s a lower level trial, many of the original competitors may now be at a higher level. Or what if the original trial was two days of NW3 and the new trial is 1 day of NW3 and 1 day of NW1? What if some hosts don’t do another similar trial - is it fair to those folks to not have the option to receive an entry in a future trial? Depending on the situation, does the host need to open for new entries or not? They wouldn’t know until they waded through the original list. Hosts should not be required to take on this added burden, especially after all the work they just put into a cancelled trial that resulted in no income. This is just a sampling of the many challenges with this option. 


Another option that was considered was to give people a “guaranteed space” in any future trial. If we end up with 60 trials cancelled and call an average trial entry limit 35 (some levels have higher, some lower - just picking an average) - that is ~2100 “guaranteed spaces” for the NACSW to manage. That is not something we have the resources to manage right now.


We thank everyone for all the support through this difficult time and we look forward to moving through this situation in a few months and getting back to hanging out with friends watching our dogs enjoy this fabulous sport!


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The National Association of
Canine Scent Work® (NACSW)
sets the standards governing
the sport of K9 Nose Work™.


NACSW is the only official
sanctioning and organizing
body for K9 Nose Work
titles and ORTs.