School boards working on policy to resume extracurricular activities

Ballon de football

Publicly-funded school boards in Windsor-Essex are moving to develop a plan to allow students, staff and officials who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to take part in extracurricular activities.

The announcement was made in a joint release Thursday from the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, the Greater Essex County District School Board, Conseil scolaire catholique Providence, Conseil scolaire Viamonde and the Windsor Essex County Secondary Schools Athletic Association.

The decision comes after the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit called on school officials to develop a policy for extracurricular activities for fully vaccinated students.

Activities such as school sports, field trips and clubs have not been held since the start of the school year after the health unit recommended they be paused to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Once the school boards have formalized their procedures, they plan to work with the Windsor and Essex County Secondary Schools Athletic Association (WECSSAA) on determining which sports may be able to proceed based on the amount of time in the season, on the number of students who would be eligible to participate, and the number of coaches who will be available.

A timeline for return to play will vary depending on those factors.

Elementary students in Grade 7 and 8 who are fully vaccinated will also be able to participate in extracurricular activities, under this procedure.

While WECSSAA and its member boards have decided to play regionally among schools in Windsor and Essex County, high schools will not participate in SWOSSAA and OFSAA competition.

The release from the school boards states "Competing with other school boards, and travelling to other locations in Ontario does not support safe regional play at this time."