Sports likely returning to BC schools at the same time as students

Aug 14 2020, 4:46 pm

When BC’s students return to the classroom, they will likely be returning to the field.

Announced on Friday by BC School Sports (BCSS), the organization decided that “effective the first-day students are in session,” currently scheduled for September 10, the ban on school sport activities will be lifted and sports can resume as long as reopening guidelines can be followed.

What is not allowed, however, is cross-school competition, or what the BCSS calls “traditional interschool athletics.”

“This announcement has brought a great deal of disappointment to students, coaches and parents, as we know what an integral role school sports play in a student’s high school experience,” BCSS’ board wrote in a memo. Adding that middle and secondary schools can reintroduce sports and other activities if physical distancing can be maintained between members of different cohorts and physical contact is reduced as much as possible.

The inter-school competition will be re-evaluated in the mid-fall, as per the restart plan

The organization reports that it continues to finalize its Return to School Sport Plan to provide guidelines and resources for the province’s schools.

“It will be incumbent on our administrators, athletic directors and coaches to find creative solutions to safely engage students in school sport activities at this time,” BCSS wrote.

The Return to School Sports Plan is expected to be ready by the beginning of the new term.

Breaking the students into cohorts has been a key piece of BC’s plan to get students back to school. The province said implementing cohorts (learning groups) will reduce the number of close, in-person interactions. These groups of students and staff will remain together throughout the school year and who primarily interact with each other.

Cohorts will be no more than 60 people in elementary and middle school and no more than 120 people in secondary school.

The province noted it won’t be necessary for students in a learning group to all be in the same class, “but they will be able to interact and connect with each other as a consistent group during breaks, in common areas like the gym, library, or at the playground.”

In addition, staff and students (or their parents/guardians) must also assess themselves daily for symptoms of COVID-19. If any student or staff member has even mild symptoms, arrangements will be made for that person to return home.

With files from Eric Zimmer.

With files from Eric Zimmer.

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