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Public school board throws in the towel on OFSAA-level sports

'Given that we are in a pandemic, the decision was made to conclude the season at the GBSSA level in order to mitigate risk,' says board spokesperson
OSS beats Bradford RHYS
Rhys Rusby rushes the ball for a big gain during his tenure with the OSS Nighthawks. Dave Dawson/OrilliaMatters File Photo

Local high school student-athletes from the public board won’t be competing for Ontario championships this fall season, either.

The Simcoe County District School Board has decided not to play in Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) championships and festivals. The decision was communicated to students and their families on Thursday.

“Given that we are in a pandemic, the decision was made to conclude the season at the GBSSA (Georgian Bay Secondary School Association) level in order to mitigate risk,” said Sarah Kekewich, the board's communications manager.

The public board's decision comes just days after the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board’s educational leadership council made the same call on Tuesday, citing COVID and its fourth wave.

Kekewich said the public board's decision was made "to ensure the continued well-being of our student-athletes, staff and coaches.

“By continuing competition to the GBSSA championships level, our teams will have the opportunity to compete against schools from other areas of Simcoe County and Muskoka, while remaining within the confines of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit," she said. 

“This will mitigate the need for travel across health units, thus eliminating the requirements for overnight accommodation and unnecessary extended travel, while also minimizing contact with student athletes and others from across the province," Kekewich added. 

Decisions of this nature are made by the school board’s senior leadership team, she said. It will evaluate participation in winter and spring OFSAA championships when it gets closer to those seasons.

Earlier this week, Chris Woodcroft, the Catholic board's superintendent of student achievement, who has athletics in his portfolio, said its board is already experiencing COVID cases in its schools and wanted to do everything possible to keep students and staff as safe as possible.

Bob Bruton

About the Author: Bob Bruton

Bob Bruton is a full-time BarrieToday reporter who covers politics and city hall.
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