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Practice for all student fall sports gets green light by the TVDSB

New CFL balls are photographed at the Winnipeg Blue Bombers stadium in Winnipeg Thursday, May 24, 2018. The CFL has reached a partnership with the French American Football Federation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Some good news for student athletes as schools reopen — practice is able to resume for all Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) fall sports next week.

As part of Step 3 of the province’s reopening plan, on Monday, Sept. 13, students can officially start practices for sports like cross country, basketball, volleyball, golf, football and field hockey.

Read more: Sports fields and some other city facilities set to reopen in London, Ont.

“We had to ensure we were following all the directives of both of the health units that we oversee athletics for and the ministry of education,” said Michele Lang, athletic coordinator with the TVDSB regional athletics.

Lang said before resuming, they head to be sure they had the sport guidelines for each individual sport and health information from both the Middlesex London Health Unit and Southwestern Public Health.

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She said the email has not stopped binging since the announcement was made.

“We will start with skills and drills, really focused on conditioning because we have a lot of students who do not have the opportunity to be involved in club or community sport so they will have been off their sport or any exercise for a year and a half.”

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Over the next few weeks, Lang said coaches will work to familiarize themselves with their new students after all the time away due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The school board had considered pushing back all fall sports until the spring, but Lang said that would interfere with students who play more than one sport or coaches who volunteer with multiple teams.

Lang said in the next month or so, they hope to get direction on students also being able to compete against other schools.

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At the next TVDSB meeting on Sept. 28, trustees are expected to discuss a motion on the possible restrictions to contact sports and wind instruments to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Read more: Fans in the stands as London Majors mark return to live local sports

At a special board meeting on Wednesday night, trustees opted to defer making any decisions that would impact students in order to allow the public to weigh in.

“We all agree we want as much safety as possible for our students and staff, but there have only been six working days from the notice of the motion to the consideration of the notice of motion,” trustee Jake Skinner said.

Skinner said after hearing from several members of the community, it was decided it is important to give the public the opportunity to provide input on these topics before they move forward.

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