No sports in the cards as schools set to reopen

The Antigua Girls High School captured the under-15 division of the girls’ schools football competition in 2019.
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By Neto Baptiste

There will be no school-based sports competitions in September when learning institutions reopen island-wide for the first time since March.

This is according to Minister of Sports, Daryll Matthew, who said the resumption of any sort of school sports in September or for the remainder of the calendar year, is highly unlikely.

“I am not confident that come September where the school plant is expected to reopen that you will also have the school looking to pick a football team and so they are having tryouts for football or basketball and that is something I wouldn’t even recommend. Let us get the operations in the schools going first, see where the teething pains are, iron out those kinks and perhaps, as we go down the line we can try and see what we may be able to implement within our schools,” he said.

Matthew, who was speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show at the time added that the focus is on getting the nation’s youths back into the classrooms.

“I can tell you my gut feeling is that our priority has to be to ensure that the school plant is safe for our students to start learning, and I don’t want to get into a debate as to whether sports is a part of learning because I agree that it is, but the priority now is to ensure that children can be in a classroom, receiving learning in a safe way and that is where all the energies are being placed,” he said.

The minister was however quick to add that sports plays an important role in the overall development of students and that the absence of competitive sports could have an emotional impact.

“One of my concerns is what is the psychological impact on students not having access to sports because school is about more than just picking up a book and learning the ABCs in the book; it’s about developing an entire individual and sports is part of that,” he said.
“Sports teaches you time management, it teaches you anger management, dispute resolution and it teaches you a lot of things and so when that part of your education is constrained because of everything that is going on, then there must be some impact on the students, and I believe that there may be a need for more guidance counselors and so forth within the education system,” Matthew added.

Students are set to return to the classrooms on September 7 following an announcement by the Ministry of Education late last month.

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