Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward recently released a statement supporting youth calling for the safe restart of sports in the city.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused several health and safety concerns, it has also severely impacted people’s mental health.
Meed Ward, who is “proud to support” the restart of sports, emphasized in her statement that they bring joy to people’s lives while allowing them to stay active and healthy.
“Nowhere is this more relevant than in our schools,” read the statement.
“Students of all ages have had to deal with the constant changes of moving back and forth between online and in-person school and having their extracurricular activities cancelled during the most formative years of their lives. Lockdowns and changing COVID-19 regulations have seen an increase in depression, anxiety and stress amongst students.”
Students are now taking it upon themselves to come up with plans for the safe restart of sports in order to address the problem.
On March 23, 2021, Halton District School Board’s (HDSB) Student Senate passed a motion declaring sports essential in students’ lives along with creating a Safe Sports sub-committee, co-chaired by Will Kiproff and Luka Simeunovic.
According to the students’ plan, low-contact sports should be restarted first to ensure the safety of all those participating.
These include track and field, tennis, badminton and swimming.
Additionally, the plan also states that with the progression of the vaccination plan across the province, large team sports such as baseball and soccer could resume after more teachers, coaches, referees and volunteers can be vaccinated.
This plan will eventually expand further for the restart of contact sports like football and basketball.
The COVID-19 Science Advisory Table for Ontario recently released several recommendations on how to reduce transmission of the virus, protect the health-care system and work towards a safe re-opening.
The advice includes allowing small groups of people from different households to meet outside with masking and two-metre distancing, keeping playgrounds open and encouraging safe outdoor activities.
“We’re calling upon the provincial government to consult with school boards and our youth to design a safe return to sports plan, so that low-contact sports can resume as soon as it is safe to do so,” read Meed Ward’s statement.
“Part of a well-rounded school experience is participating in sports and extracurriculars that promote healthy, active lifestyles and help develop children’s teamwork, communication, and leadership skills.”
The City of Burlington is ready to partner with the province, school boards and local fitness providers to plan for a safe restart of sports since many sporting activities occur in city facilities.
“We can assist in providing public meetings and opportunities to consult with our community, seek ideas for a restart plan and implement it as soon as it is ready,” concluded the statement.