June 26, 2020
Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association, a multi-sport organization with defined seasons of play, has been carefully studying and resourcing information related to return to sport, school opening in the fall of 2020, and the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan.
It is with much understanding, and in acknowledgement of needed responsiveness to Saskatchewan school sport enthusiasts, that the following is released referencing initial plans for schools to consider as the academic year gets underway in the fall. The safety of all is the primary focus of any return to school sport plan that continues to contribute to the development of citizenship skills in our student athletes.
At this time, SHSAA has not adjusted seasons of play for any of the 10 sanctioned activities. School sport will need to consider the dynamics of multiple seasons of play, multi-sport athletes, multi-sport coaches, and appropriate re-introduction of school sport from individualized skill development to provincial championships. Suspending, delaying, compressing, or moving a season of play will impact how effectively schools can deliver the total school sport program available to their student athletes. As conditions change and Public Health Orders are altered, the SHSAA Executive, in consultation with stakeholders, will need to make many decisions throughout the year that will impact the delivery of school sport opportunities to the students of Saskatchewan. These changes, related to the policies and activities of the Association, will come into effect immediately when passed by the Executive. The changes will be communicated to the membership and if required will be brought to the next Annual General Meeting for ratification.
To prepare for the fall, schools are advised to prepare to offer school sport opportunities only within their own school setting following the guidelines currently in place for Outdoor Sports and Activities and allowable limits established by school governance. At this time, the guidelines for indoor activities have not been published. It is expected that guidelines pertaining to indoor sports and activities will become available with further implementation of the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan.
To reiterate, the current fall seasons of play will continue as scheduled in SHSAA policy. No championships or seasons of play have been cancelled or postponed for the 2020-21 school year. Developments over the summer will provide further direction as to what stage school sport activity will be able to occur. The changes, adaptations, cancellation or postponement of championships, or seasons, will only be made following the recommendation of the guidelines available through the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan and the direction of the Chief Medical Health Officer. Adaptations in the delivery of school sport will be provided by SHSAA after consideration of Return to Play protocols established by sport specific organizations (NSO’s and PSO’s) and the guidelines provided by the Government of Saskatchewan in the re-opening of the province.
Over the summer, SHSAA office staff will continue work with stakeholders and monitor the continued response to COVID-19. The Executive Council will meet with office staff in August to consider further plans related to season of play, training, competition, and championships for each of the fall activities.
Lyle McKellar Executive Director, Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association