School sports tournaments remain suspended, Ministry of Education to revise guidelines next week

(UPDATE: Jan. 31 at 10:05 a.m.) – Although provincial guidelines changed on Tuesday to allow youth sports tournaments to resume, the Department of Education said school sports tournaments will remain suspended for the time being.

“We recognize the importance of sports to students and school communities,” the ministry told NowMedia in an emailed statement.

“Currently, school districts are working to ensure that all students have access to in-person learning, which is crucial for children’s intellectual, social and emotional well-being.”

Although tournaments remain suspended, the ministry said student-athletes are still able to participate in games and individual competitions at this time.

Next week, the ministry will meet with the Provincial K-12 Steering Committee, made up of educators, parents, support workers, school leaders, counsellors, Indigenous rights holders and experts. in public health.

The Steering Committee will review current guidelines for school sports tournaments.

“We have worked closely with Public Health and BC School Sports to ensure that we can keep students and staff safe and healthy as we continue to navigate through the Omicron wave of the pandemic,” explained the Ministry.

“We are grateful for the extraordinary work undertaken at this time by everyone in our education system to ensure the continuity of student learning.”

On Friday, BC School Sports revealed the ministry’s decision to suspend school sports tournaments. The organization said it was “stunned by the decision”.

“There has been a commitment this year to ensure club and community access to sport remains equal to school sport,” a BCSS statement read.

“To have this decision made at such a critical time of year is disheartening to everyone involved in school sport and continues to threaten and erode the long-term health and sustainability of school sport.”

BCSS said it will not cancel any provincial events and will continue to schedule these tournaments, along with any variable contingencies that may be required.

(Original story: January 28 at 4:25 p.m.) – On Tuesday, provincial health officer Dr Bonnie Henry said the restriction on youth sports tournaments would be lifted from February 1.

“I know it’s an important time of year for many different sports, especially team sports, and we’ve been working with the organizers and with viaSport to make sure it can be done safely.” , she said during a live. Report.

While this seemed like exciting news for parents and children, it quickly became apparent that this might not mean that all youth sports tournaments would return.

BC School Sports (BCSS) took to social media shortly after Tuesday’s briefing to say that current preventive measures for K-12 require after-school sports tournaments to remain on hiatus.

“We have already had discussions with the Ministry of Education and hope to have more clarity on school sports tournaments by Friday,” BCSS wrote.

Friday came around and a decision was made, but it was not at all what BCSS, parents and young athletes were hoping for.

“We have been in contact several times this week to provide critical information on the importance of these events and the tight timelines due to upcoming zonal and provincial events,” a BCSS statement said.

“We communicated that having to adapt zone events would have a significant impact on direct financial costs for children and their families, costs for schools, the impact on missed school time or events that may not even happen. produce at all.”

BCSS added that it expressed concern about the immense cost student-athletes have already felt over the past 24 months, but that did not change the decision.

“Unfortunately, the Department of Education has made the decision to keep the K12 Guidelines Addendum in place without change, which means that all school sports tournaments are still prohibited,” the BCSS statement explained.

“We are amazed by this decision, as a commitment has been made this year to ensure that access to club and community sport remains equal to school sport, and that this decision is made at such a critical time in the year is disheartening for everyone involved in school sport and continues to threaten and erode the long-term health and sustainability of school sport.

The reasoning behind the decision is unclear and NowMedia did not receive a response to its request for comment from the department earlier this afternoon.

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<p dir=According to BCSS, the department said the decision would be reviewed weekly, but gave no indication of when the K-12 guidelines might be changed to align with PHO orders.

“We will continue to strongly advocate for the return of school sports tournaments and share the frustration no doubt felt by student-athletes, coaches, parents and fans across the province,” the BCSS statement concluded.

“At this time, we are not canceling provincial events and continue to plan for these events, as well as variable contingencies that may be required. We will update membership as more information becomes available.

NowMedia will update this story if and when more information becomes available from the Department of Education.

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