Elgin County, Ont. –
The Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) as well as the London District Catholic School Board (LDCSB) are committed to restoring sports in high school.
âWe feel safe, we feel confident and we are just excited to be back,â said Michelle Lange, sports coordinator for Thames Valley Regional Athletics (TVRA).
âWe have received information from the ministry that we are allowed to go ahead with all sports, but we are still awaiting some ministerial guidance from the Ontario Physical Health Education Association (OPHEA). Our health and safety protocols will also be reviewed by our local health department. units before starting the planning process “.
When Lange says all sports are moving forward, she is talking about both high contact and low contact activities.
Basketball, Football, Hockey, Lacrosse, Rugby, Football, Wrestling
Badminton, curling, gymnastics, swimming, track and field / cross-country, volleyball
This is great news for student multisport athletes like Brennan Keba at Catholic Central High School in London.
âIt’s great that we’ve been out for so long and now we can finally get back to what many of us were hoping for,â said Keba, who is recruited by Ontario University Athletics (OUA).
“This is great news because for me I’m in grade 12 and this could be my last year of high school. It’s a great year for all the universities watching us all.”
CHC Grade 12 student Brennan Keba, August 25, 2021 (Jim Knight / CTV London)
As part of their return-to-sport guidelines, spectators will only be allowed for outdoor games while following public health distancing guidelines.
Masks are not required for high or low contact activities outdoors, but are encouraged for indoor sports where they can be worn safely for the activity.
Indoor facilities such as locker rooms and weight rooms, indoor physical education equipment and gymnasiums will be permitted with distancing.
While the province of Quebec will require proof of vaccination to participate in extracurricular activities considered high risk and team sports involving prolonged contact, this does not appear to be the case in TVRA.
âThings change quickly, change all the time,â explains Lange. âSo parents, coaches and students will have to be prepared for us to change if we are to change. However, at the start of school we will really be focusing on skill development, re-conditioning, as well as the organizers, coaches and athletic directors working together to set a schedule for the sport to be. fall can return. “
At this point, there are over a dozen schools engaged in a high school football season. It comes shortly after WECSSAA in Windsor, Ontario. canceled its fall season days after the provincial high school sports governing body (OFSAA) announced the return of all championships and festivals in 2021-2022.
âWe’re still waiting for the details, the policies and procedures and what we want to do,â said Mike Stenning, athletic director at South Collegiate in London, Ont.
âI think what’s important today is that we have the announcement that there is an intention. Our board wants to move forward and we want to support athletics, the students. athletes and that’s all we can hope for at the moment, âhe said.
After an 18 month absence from athletics, it would be easy for teachers, coaches and athletes to decide that they did not want to return to the sport. Some may enjoy more free time, others may have found a job after school, but Lange says she will always fight to keep extracurricular activities and athletics in school.
âWe know there are many mental, physical and emotional benefits that come with sport,â says Lange. “We know that these relationships with coaches and with other students are really very important for the students who move forward, especially to re-engage them when they come back to school after a long period of absence from the school. pandemic”.
Stenning also believes that after this free time now is the time to consider a possible reset in athletic development in the province, saying there is a chance to add to the traditional sports that are already in place.
âThere are big, growing sports like women’s football which is one of the fastest growing sports right now and is at the OUA level,â said Stenning, who also coaches Southern football and hockey. .
âThere is ultimate frisbee and baseball has also grown in recent years. I would really love to see that incorporated into what we already offer,â adds Stenning. âI mean we want to give kids experiences and opportunities to, you know, chase their dreams chase their passions. Just watch the Olympics and see what happened with Damian Warner and see. how important athletics is in our city. “