The Ontario University Athletics (OUA) is planning on having all sports programs run for the 2021–22 academic year.
While many details are still in the working process, the athletic departments have been working on ensuring sports can return safely for next season.
“Schedules being developed may include combinations of proposed modifications, as approved by the OUA Board of Directors, to be executed on a sport-by-sport basis,” said the OUA during the release of its recovery plan.
All sports under the OUA will have to be accommodated accordingly and a sufficient plan for every sport is expected to be made.
Student-athletes, where many have an extended amount of time off, are slowly preparing for how things are starting to plan out towards the start of the 2021/2022 season.
“As a varsity athlete, it was disappointing to hear the cancellation of the 2020 season but I along with my team took the opportunity to rest, recharge, and prepare for the coming season. We have come a long way since the start of this pandemic and for the first time, it feels like it may be over soon,” said Faith Nieson, cross country runner for Laurier Brantford.
Athletes are still in awe of the news of the 2020 season cancellation but some have seen the positives surrounding the current situation.
Players have had the chance to rest and rejuvenate themselves, preparing for a competitive and safe environment to play in for the following year.
“To say I would be comfortable going back to school before a vaccine is a bit of a lie. However, I understand the purpose. We can keep a distance and wear a mask but we still can’t fully protect ourselves or others when we interact with people around us,” said Nieson.
The vaccine has been a topic of discussion since the procedure was introduced into Canada in December of 2020. Currently, not everyone has access to take the vaccine which has caused uncertainty moving forward.
While there is progress being made in Ontario, it is still unclear how the vaccination method will look at the beginning of the fall semester.
“For me, I won’t be fully comfortable until I know that I am not risking my health or my community’s health,” said Nieson.
Knowing you are safe is one thing but seeing how one’s actions can affect someone else’s, is another.
The effects of COVID-19 can have a domino effect which can put everyone at risk. In a setting such as a university, individuals must take extra precautions for not only themselves but for the community around them.
The next steps about how sports will look for the 2021/2022 season will be interesting to see and hopefully, the timeline will be revealed to schools as fast as possible so players and coaches can prepare for a new challenge ahead of them.
“While I would prefer to wait for a vaccine, I am eager to get back to athletics. Ever since I was a toddler I haven’t gone this long without a sports competition. For me, the best decision would be to wait until there’s a vaccine available for everyone before resuming competition but allowing team training and practices confined to our campus while following guidelines and protocols,” said Nieson.
Following guidelines and protocols will be mandatory for any chance of sports running this year. But, a vaccination may increase the likelihood of this happening.
Waiting for a vaccine to be available for everyone may be the best cause of action to ensure safety and to also prolong a successful season. Athletes voice that a start/stop is not ideal to go through and while anticipating if sports will be confirmed.
“Following necessary consultation with membership and final approval from the Board of Directors, schedule development will be finalized in spring 2021,” said the OUA during their press release.
The next steps about how sports will look for the 2021/2022 season will be interesting to see where the timeline will be revealed to schools sooner rather than later so players and coaches can prepare a new challenge ahead of them.
One thing is certain though, Laurier Brantford athletes are ready and excited for a fresh season ahead of them.