Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Education Critic Tim Halman said that without proper coordination amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many schools won’t be able to run team sports this year.
“We can’t gloss over the crucial role that school sports play in the mental and physical health of our youth,” says Halman in a press release.
According to Halman, while Public Health has deemed it safe for 50 people to watch or participate in sporting events, many local schools are unable to book gym times past 6 p.m. to hold tryouts and games due to poor planning and coordination by the government.
“On one hand we have Public Health giving the green light for sports to resume, but on the other, an inability for gyms to be booked to hold the events,” says Halman. “Students are looking for some sense of normalcy, we can’t afford to hold them back from another sports season.”
Dartmouth Lakers basketball coach, Michael Cosgrove, says a “simple solution has to be found in coordinating resources and supporting custodial staff. ”
“What do we have to do to support custodial staff to enable them to be able to keep gyms open past six o’clock?” asks Michael Cosgrove in a press release. “There has to be a solution that allows our students to return to the court and be able to participate in sports this year.”
Halman says that the government should work with schools to help coordinate gym times so that kids can get back to being active.
“Our students have faced enough disruption, it’s time that we enable them to participate in sporting events in keeping with public health guidelines,” says Halman. “After what has been a difficult year, participating in sports will have a positive impact on the mental and physical health of our young people.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Violet MacLeod, said that due to COVID-19, all schools in Nova Scotia have been closed during evenings and weekends since March.
“We know that school sport is important for many students’ overall wellbeing and that school teams have been finding ways to practice, including using outside spaces when indoor spaces are unavailable,” said MacLeod.
In the meantime, MacLeod said that the Regions and CSAP have reduced their schools’ hours of operation to ensure cleaning staff have the time needed to complete their enhanced cleaning protocols for the health and safety of students.
“It is vitally important that students, staff and parents have confidence in the cleaning and sanitizing of our schools.”