High school competitions return to Windsor-Essex
The long-awaited return to the courts and fields at Windsor-Essex high schools has finally arrived.
Following a long layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic, actual gameplay resumed Monday for area secondary school teams.
Practices have been underway for three weeks, though, as Windsor-Essex County Secondary Schools Athletic Association (WECSSAA) President Jim Kittl told WindsorNewsToday.ca.
“I think everybody’s really excited about that,” said Kittl, a vice-principal at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Windsor. “They’ve put in three hard weeks of practice. Some boys’ and girls’ hockey got underway, as well as some volleyball and basketball.”
All four of the public school boards that serve Windsor-Essex agreed last month to allow extracurricular activities to resume due to a decline in COVID-19 cases in schools. Kittl said it took a lot of work to get students ready to return to competition.
“There was a lot of coordination, starting with first getting the okay from the health unit, working together with senior administration from all the boards involved in this area,” said Kittl. “That was the first step after what’s been about six weeks now.”
Part of that coordination was figuring safety precautions for student-athletes, coaches and staff. Guidelines put in place by the four school boards include requiring players who are on the bench and not playing to wear masks. Spectators are also not being allowed in the stands.
Despite the restrictions still in place, Kittl is pleased that high school students will once again experience this part of campus life.
“Our grade-tens and grade-nines never got to do anything,” said Kittl. “You can really see how excited how the young kids are, and for the seniors, they’re just glad to be back because they didn’t want to miss out on their year like last year’s seniors did.”