Game on: High School sports returning in November
After sitting on the sidelines for nearly two years, high school sports are set to return in Windsor-Essex.
The Windsor Essex County Secondary Schools Athletic Association cleared the final hurdle Monday night.
“You can kind of feel it at this time that our student athletes are getting ready for this,” says Jim Kittl, WECSSAA president.
“Getting kids back actively involved in things is something that’s good for them.”
League play will not begin before Nov. 22, but practices can begin immediately as long as all athletes have followed the vaccination requirements.
“Our first focus in November is really on girls’ basketball and boys’ volleyball,” says Kittl.
“Then the traditional winter sports such as boys and girls hockey, wrestling and we’re still not sure about swimming. I'm not sure about the protocols with the pools around town. Those are the ones that can also go at this time.”
Golf, cross country and tennis can be tabled until the Spring.
“I have a feeling cross country’s going to find a way to partner up with track so that those athletes can find an experience for themselves there,” Kittl says.
Schools have posted sign-up sheets for student athletes and are responsible for making their own teams based on the amount of interest.
“After it got shut down in grade 10, I was pretty disappointed. Like, I got my track season cut short but after the announcement that it’s coming back it’s been pretty exciting,” says Johnathan Lariviere, a Grade 12 student athlete at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School.
Fans will not be allowed to attend games and coaches will have to wear masks.
Convenor meetings will take place the week of Nov. 8 and game schedules will be released shortly after.
“By having sports coming back it’s giving us a chance to make connections with all of our new students that have come in, giving us a chance to support our teams and really exuberant that school spirit,” says Jada Malott, a student athlete at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit suspended extra-curricular activities at the start of the school year to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Virtual is still an option for some clubs but if they wanna meet in person they have to follow the same protocols as everybody else,” Kittl tells CTV News.
Students, staff and officials who are fully vaccinated can resume participation.