Communities rally to kick-start school sports
Northwestern Ontario parents — and even some teachers — try to give students something positive to do
High school sports will return soon to courts and rinks in some schools in the northwest, despite the fact teachers still refuse to supervise extracurricular activities.
After students complete their exams in the coming days, some sports and other after-school activities will resume at schools operated by the Keewatin-Patricia Board.
Superintendent of education Sean Monteith said parents, community groups, and even some teachers will provide support.
"The decision was overwhelming that we needed to try and do something, recognizing that what we were going to do was going to look different," he said.
"There has been widespread support — not just from our communities, our parents — but also teachers." Monteith said, adding the programs offered will vary among the communities. He said "It looks different. It's not necessarily an official Norwossa (North Western Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association) type of structured schedule."
In Thunder Bay, some schools may offer sports to students with the help of community organizations, said Dave Pineau, sports co-ordinator for both the public and Catholic school boards.
"We feel that that's a better way to do it is to work with the community groups in the short term to create opportunities, with the hope that our teachers will be back soon," he said.
"Tensions are still pretty high and we're waiting to see what will shake out in the next coming weeks."
Playing exhibition games won't be the same as playing for a spot in the high school standings, however. But Pineau said the games will give students something positive to do, while the teachers and province sort out their differences.
The president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation Thunder Bay local said the union is encouraging parents’ efforts.
"So far as the ongoing effort of parents to provide meaningful opportunities for the kids, I mean we're certainly supportive of any stance they might take," Paul Caccamo said.