NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) – A New Westminster parent is wondering why his son’s football team is not allowed to play in high school football games, even though community sports are permitted.
“Without the ability to play games, the vast majority of students are going to be missing out on opportunities,” says James Young, who is also a community football coach.
“We have the ability now – and whether that allows schools to play in cohorts, particular schools, of course, that’s all to be expected. But having it no games whatsoever for no reason doesn’t make sense to me,” he says.
In a normal year, high school football would be kicking off by now in B.C.
But due to COVID-19, students are not allowed to play games against other schools.
Dyson Glavas is playing with the New Westminster Secondary School Hyacks.
“Football is always something I can connect to people with,” he says.
He too is wondering when games will be allowed but says he understands COVID-19 safety measures are a priority.
“For me, I understand COVID is serious, and people are dying, but as we get more into the season, we’re left scratching our heads, because community football is playing, and we’re left here asking where’s our season, our pads and helmets.”
Young says the lack of inter-school games is having a negative effect on students’ mental health and is even taking away key opportunities to get sports scholarships.
“In football, whether they don’t have a good home life, what keeps them trying so hard in the classroom is the opportunity to play football and get scholarships and post-secondary opportunities. Ultimately, next year there will be less of our students in B.C. able to have opportunities,” he says.
According to BC School Sports, the return to school sports plan is in stage two, meaning athletes can only play sports within their school’s educational cohorts.
“The return to school was such a big undertaking, Dr. Henry did a great job, but I think they wanted to get kids in school safely, reintroduce everything new, so to try to add more on top of that was a decision not necessary,” says Jordan Abney with BC School Sports.
Abney says he’s been in discussions with the ministry of health and the ministry of education to figure out a plan for a return to sports.
“We’ve heard frustration, anger about the discrepancy right now about club and community sport, and school being restrictive, so we’ve expressed that to our government friends and we’re working to make that happen in the near future.”
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Tuesday that the province is looking at what can be done to better allow school sports.
“We are looking at school sports, but they’ll be limited, schools playing teams in their regions, not traveling, and restrictions for some sports like wrestling. We are looking at it, and we’re taking things in a stepwise fashion,” she says.