*Please see below a Statement from Burlington Mayor Meed Ward on Supporting a Safe Return to Sports.
Burlington, Ont. – April 26, 2021 — The COVID-19 pandemic has posed numerous health and safety concerns for people of all ages. What we are witnessing now is how the pandemic is impacting mental health. Allowing people to safely resume the activities that bring them joy and allow them to be active and healthy is one of the best ways to combat this growing issue.
Nowhere is this more relevant than in our schools. Students of all ages have had to deal with the constant changes of moving back and forth between online and in-person school and having their extracurricular activities cancelled during the most formative years of their lives. Lockdowns and changing COVID-19 regulations have seen an increase in depression, anxiety, and stress amongst students.
To address this problem, students are taking it upon themselves to draft plans to restart sports again safely. Halton District School Board’s (HDSB) Student Senate passed a motion on March 23, 2021 declaring sports essential in students’ lives and created a Safe Sports sub-committee, co-chaired by Will Kiproff and Luka Simeunovic.
The students’ plan states that, to ensure the safety of all those participating, low-contact sports should be restarted first. Low-contact includes sports such as track and field, tennis, badminton, and swimming. As the vaccination plan progresses across Ontario and more teachers, coaches, referees, and volunteers can be vaccinated, large team sports such as baseball and soccer can resume. This plan will continue to expand, alongside adjusting health and safety plans, to restart contact sports like football and basketball eventually.
On April 20, 2021, the COVID-19 Science Advisory Table for Ontario released several recommendations on how to best reduce transmission, protect the health care system and work towards a safe re-opening. Their report can be found here.
Among their recommendations was to keep people safely connected. The advice from the Science Advisory Table is as follows: “Maintaining social connections and outdoor activity are important to our overall physical and mental health. This means allowing small groups of people from different households to meet outside with masking and two-metre distancing. It means keeping playgrounds open, and clearly encouraging safe outdoor activities.”
We’re calling upon the provincial government to consult with school boards and our youth to design a safe return to sports plan, so that low-contact sports can resume as soon as it is safe to do so.
The Provincial government has already outlined that schools should be the first thing to reopen and the last thing to be closed in the event of heightened COVID-19 cases. School closures put students’ mental health and development at-risk. Part of a well-rounded school experience is participating in sports and extracurriculars that promote healthy, active lifestyles and help develop children’s teamwork, communication, and leadership skills.
Given that many sporting activities occur in City facilities, the City of Burlington stands ready to partner with the Province, school boards and our local fitness providers in planning for a safe restart of sports. We can assist in providing public meetings and opportunities to consult with our community, seek ideas for a restart plan, and implement it as soon as it is ready.
HDSB’s Student Senate Safe Sports committee co-chairs Will and Luka were guests on my Burlington Matters show, produced by YourTV Halton, that was recorded on Tuesday, April 27, and will air later this week on Cogeco cable ch. 700 and on YourTV Halton’s YouTube channel. Will and Luka have also started an Instagram page where you can learn more about their advocacy work and safe return to sports plan: @safe_sports_hdsb.
Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward
PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages burlington.ca/coronavirus (and subscribe) and bit.ly/mayormeedwardCOVID19updates, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ that are updated as new information becomes available.
A consolidated page for information and updates on the work of the provincial Ministers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force is available at bit.ly/COVIDVaccineUpdates.
Halton Region has also created a dedicated COVID-19 Vaccine webpage at halton.ca/covidvaccines for up to date information on the status of our COVID19 vaccination program.
A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at burlington.ca/COVID19taskforce.
To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.
We’ve also created a dedicated page to feature the local organizations and businesses that have inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways — head to bit.ly/covidwallofinspiration.
HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:
- Community questions and requests regarding City of Burlington services can be directed to Service Burlington by phone at 905-335-7777, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or online.
- Halton Region has created a Reopening Schools resource webpage for parents, students and teachers at halton.ca/covid19.
- For further COVID-19 information, including where to get tested, please visit Halton Region Public Health halton.ca/coronavirus
- Residents can stay informed at burlington.ca/coronavirus as well as on our social media channels: @cityburlington on Twitter and facebook.com/cityburlington
- Questions about the cancellation of Recreation programs can be directed to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-335-7738
- City of Burlington: www.burlington.ca/coronavirus
- Resources for Residents & Non-Profit Organizations: www.burlington.ca/covid19resources.
- Halton Region: www.halton.ca/coronavirus
- Government of Ontario: www.ontario.ca/coronavirus
- Provincial Emergency Orders: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/200052
- Government of Canada: www.canada.ca/coronavirus
- World Health Organization: www.who.int
- Joseph Brant Hospital: josephbranthospital.ca/covid-19
- Team Burlington Business Supports: burlingtonchamber.com/team-burl-supporting-burl-business-during-covid-19/
- Burlington Food Bank: call 905-637-CARE (2273), or visit burlingtonfoodbank.ca
- Food for Life: call 905-635-1106 and press 7, or visit foodforlife.ca
- Canadian Mental Health Association – Halton Branch: call 289-291-5396, or visit halton.cmha.ca