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Interschool sports unlikely to return this academic year

Under 13 girls in action during the BSSF Middle School Cross Country races in February, the last schools event to be held because of the pandemic. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The island’s students are not only being impacted in the classroom by the Covid-19 pandemic, but on the sports fields as well where there have been no interschool activity this school year.

The Bermuda School Sports Federation’s knockout finals, which were scheduled to be held on Saturday, won’t go ahead as planned while other events planned for the school year may also be scrapped.

“We haven’t had anything so far and I don’t see that changing any time soon,” said Manny Faria, administrator for the BSSF which usually lays out a packed programme for the students.

“This term we weren’t able to do netball, volleyball, football, swimming and next month basketball was supposed to start, cross country and track and field in March. I really doubt we’ll be able to play those. We’re just hoping that things change for the better and in the final term we can do something.

“We were hoping that if things stayed as they were a few weeks ago that by January we might have been given approval, but clearly that is not going to happen.

“The last events we had were the middle and senior schools cross-country in February.

“We couldn’t even do the primary schools because the stadium track was being relaid for the Carifta Games. It’s frustrating but we understand.”

Faria revealed that the BSSF attempted to hold scaled-down matches, but that too was deemed too risky.

“Usually we have school matches, but there can’t be large gatherings. Obviously we don’t want to put anyone at risk.

“I was trying to get approval for even small league games, but we weren’t given approval by the Ministry of Health.

“We submitted protocols for each sport, but I guess there were still fears about mixing the schools, year levels and mixing different bubbles.”

“It’ll be a jubilant, happy day when we are finally able to do it again, but we’re going to have to wait.”

Faria also serves as chairman of the Bermuda Football Association’s youth committee and deputy chairman of the competitions committee, a sport that is also being impacted by the new spike in positive cases.

“Remember, we were under [the restriction] of no gatherings of more than 75 people unless there were exemptions,” he added. “At the BFA we had to apply for exemptions and they came and assessed all our fields.

“I took that into account and created protocol for each tournament. I understand that the health department has a much bigger responsibility to make sure that schools are safe.”

Another popular school event unlikely to be held is the All-Star football matches which were scheduled for January.

“I can’t see that happening either, at this point,” said Faria.

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Published December 10, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated December 09, 2020 at 10:51 pm)

Interschool sports unlikely to return this academic year

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