Chance of high school sports this fall continues to dim

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to loom over us, the Ontario government recently announced its plan for students to return to schools in September, with a brief mention of sports and recreation activities.

government text
Excerpt from August 2020 Ford government return-to-schooling plan.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has released more specific guidelines, which apply to sports and recreation in our communities and schools, the full details of which can be read here.

However, specifically on schools, OFSAA, the province’s governing body for high school athletics, has announced there will be no Ontario championships this fall. Traditionally, the slate would include golf, cross-country running, football, girls basketball, and boys volleyball.

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OFSAA announcement, 12 August 2020.

Regarding EOSSAA, the regional body for high school sports, no official announcement has been made, though I have been told that they will “follow OFSAA’s direction.”

Locally, the SDGAA and PRSSAA have not made official statements either. Marc Poirier, head of athletics at Holy Trinity (which competes in the SD&G league) and Éric Crête, a coach at Le Relais (Prescott-Russell league), tell me they have not heard of any local planning.

I’m told that it’s possible individual boards may allow some sort of sports/recreation, in line with government direction, which suggests activities can only take place within a school (i.e. n inter-school competition), whilst maintaining physically distancing and enhanced cleaning. Whether boards and schools decide to take on the risk remains to be seen.

Across the country, university sports have been cancelled in three of four leagues (Only Quebec still has plans for competition). In Ontario, college sports this fall have also been cancelled.

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