Public school board trustees urging health unit to restore extracurricular activities

AM800-Sports-High-School-Hockey-Tecumseh-Vista-Kennedy-3-January 23-2017

Trustees with the Greater Essex County District School Board want extracurricular activities to be resumed.

At a meeting Tuesday night, a motion was passed urging the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit to restore sports and extracurriculars as soon as possible. 

The motion that was adopted also included an amendment stating 'when deemed safe by the public health unit'.

A health unit recommendation to delay all extracurricular activities remains in place in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Trustee Alan Halberstadt made the motion, and says while restrictions have been lifted for bars and restaurants, students continue to sit on the sidelines.

"The decision has caused an outpouring of anguish that I felt in our school community and raised a lot of questions that people can't logically answer," he continued. "People can't understand the inconsistency of this ruling as they ease restrictions and other sectors."

Halberstadt says other school boards and organizations are playing.

"The Lambton-Kent School Board lifted sports and extracurricular restrictions completely early this week. Football is being played at our home stadiums by the Lancers, Fratmen, Ravens and minor football. The minor football plays their games on our own field, Tecumseh Vista."

He says outside organizations are playing, but many families can't afford that.

"By not having extracurriculars, we are causing divisions. Those who can and those who can't. Many families cannot afford or are not able to put their children in outside of school activities and sports. School is all they have. It is not fair," Halberstadt said.

Health unit officials spoke at the meeting as well stating 210 students cohorts have already been dismissed this year due to COVID-19 — that's four times more than last year's entire school year.

The health unit is meeting with local school boards Wednesday to re-evaluate its recommendation to pause all extracurricular activities.