For the first time since March 2020, NDSS Golden Hawk student-athletes were on the field or in the gym training for an upcoming KASSAA sports season.
There’s still a lot of unknown surrounding what the fall season will look like but at the very least a return to practice in the first week of school is a positive step. NDSS is gearing up to run football, girls’ basketball, boys’ volleyball, field hockey, cross country and golf starting in October.
“In a regular, non-COVID situation it’s the same sports,” said Todd Collard, NDSS teacher and the school’s athletic director. “Obviously things are not business as usual and we’re still trying to do things to keep the kids safe, but we’re really doing our best to provide opportunities for kids to be involved and get something that’s as close to normal as we can in this situation.”
It’s not just athletics that are set to return either as a whole host of extra-curricular activities are being planned.
“The positive is that all extra-curriculars, as long as they meet guidelines from the health unit and the board can occur,” said Collard.
When the pandemic’s first wave was peaking, schools across Ontario were relegated to online learning following the March Break of 2020, effectively halting the sports season. Though schools did return to in-class learning to start September of 2020, virtually all extra-curriculars were shuttered in the interest of safety. They ultimately never returned and schools once again returned to online learning by spring of 2021.
In a typical year the KASSAA fall season would start in mid-September. In order to give teams ample time to train, as well as working out the final COVID-19 safety protocols, the season won’t start until October at the earliest.
“The teams are just training right now,” said Collard. “There’s no league schedule, there’s no game schedule. It’s a test it out, see how things go and then decisions will be made by the health unit and the leagues later on in a week or two or three of four, whenever the time is right.”
Whatever modifications have to be made, Collard says just getting the students back into sports and clubs they love is a huge victory.
“The main thing is kids are out on the field and on the court, being active and we hope having fun,” said Collard. “We’re getting them ready them ready in case there’s the opportunity to play sports.”