Rise in Covid cases could hamper return of school sports

Teams compete at the YMCA Sports Complex
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By Carlena Knight

The possibility of school sports returning next school year is now up in the air following the recent spike in Covid cases.

This is according to Assistant Director of Sports Evans ‘Jawakie’ Jones.

Jones says that the ministry had already made several plans to ensure the safe return of school sports but those plans may now have to be put on the backburner.

“We were really looking forward to the commencement of school sports come September, October where football would be played in the first term but I think we are a bit set back now after seeing that the covid now has risen to a hundred plus at this time as we speak. I could have rejoiced about three, four weeks ago where I was seeing zero and one and zero but now it has risen again to height where it is a cause for concern. I believe we will have to be looking at taking precautions as we go forward to the commencement of school and how soon we can have school sports,” Jones said. 

He did explain that some individual sports like track and field could possibly still be allowed to continue.

“From my experiences where track and field is concerned, there are enough protocols in place where we can have it. There a few sports that can be played, and this is my personal view as a coach, and not as the Assistant Director for this one,” he said.

“We have to take into consideration the importance of getting Covid-19 under control and again, in the school system it is a very integral part for the development of children, both mentally, physically and psychologically and of course academically by having them play sports in the schools. So, this is something that we are really looking forward to, hoping by then some sort of mechanism can be in place in order to facilitate the school sports activities once again come October, if not January.”

Where vaccination of the coaches in the Ministry of Sports is concerned, Jones said that majority of the staff are vaccinated but he would be more pleased if all persons would step forward to get the jab.

School sports has been on hold for over a year since the first Covid case was announced in Antigua and Barbuda in March 2020.

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