By Darryl G. Smart
High school sports took a giant step in the right direction on Thursday.
Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association president Nick Rowe sent out the following release.
“The OFSAA Executive Council, in collaboration with our Return To Sports Working Group, is excited to announce the return of all 2021-22 championships and festivals. This follows the Ministry of Education’s recently released Guide to Reopening Schools, which allows for sports in schools this September.
We’re confident that OFSAA events will be offered in a safe manner for all participants and volunteers, and in keeping with that, we are currently finalizing protocols that will protect the safety of all involved.
School sports play a vital role in education and in the lives of students and teacher-coaches, and we are eager to help make the school experience whole again.
Thank you for your patience and support over the past 18 months and for your efforts to keep our communities safe.”
Along with the release, OFSAA also posted its 2021-2022 OFSAA championships and festivals calendar.
Athletic Association of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk vice president Tyler Backus said he and the other teachers and coaches are optimistic about the announcement.
“I’m pumped about it and I know everyone else is too,” said Backus, who is the department head of physical education at Holy Trinity.”We all know there’s lots of work to be done and there are still a lot of unknowns. But the main thing is we know we will be back at some point.”
Backus said the new athletic conference is hoping to meet next week.
“”We already know that training camps can’t start until school returns,” Backus said. “So a football team like Assumption (College Lions) who usually starts in August will start a little later than usual. I can see a possible delay but I see it being full throttle. You have to think about how long we’ve been out of class.”
Backus said OFSAA will have to create protocols for all sports.
“But the main thing is that we’re all moving ahead and I think everyone is excited about that,” he said.