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LETTER: Watching our kids grow

Local school boards should allow spectators to watch indoor sporting events.
Ethan Willmore Noah Jameus
St. Igntius forward Ethan Willmore (left) looks for space against St. Patrick's Noah Jameus on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020 at the Thunderdome in the senior boys' baskerball final. (Leith Dunick,

To the editor: 

To develop properly a child must have access to a full complement of social, educational and physical activities. Parents are invested in their children’s development and share in their pride of victory and the agony of defeat. There is no greater entertainment than watching our children play. Our children want to see us in the stands, cheering them on, and supporting them.

The Ontario government has now lifted capacity limits at all spectator sports venues and gymnasiums. The Toronto Raptors, Maple Leafs and Blue Jays have been authorized for full capacity. Local hockey rinks have received city approval to increase this number to 100% capacity in spectator areas, and 50 per cent capacity in common and concession areas.

Lakehead University is following the Ontario government mandates, and allowing full capacity at all indoor Lakehead Thunderwolves sporting events, including basketball and volleyball. The same is true of the Junior Wolves Development program, and Blaze basketball, which are the local basketball development programs, as well as SNVC, the local volleyball club.

Other school boards in Ontario, with higher COVID cases, and lower vaccination rates, are allowing highschool spectators in their schools. Both the school boards in Lambton-Kent, and the Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board are allowing spectators at indoor sporting events.

And yet, parents in Thunder Bay are still not allowed to watch indoor high school sports. This is inconsistent, and unwarranted. How is it safe to be in an arena with 50,000 fans, or in bar or restaurant at full capacity, yet it is unsafe to sit in the bleachers to watch our kids play sports?

It is time for our local health unit to make our kids a priority. For some Grade 12 athletes, this may be the last time they lace up their sneakers with a school jersey on their backs. Playoffs start next week, so there is literally no time to waste! It is time for us to stand up and support our kids.

Parents would be happy to volunteer their time to screen spectators and verify vaccine passports. Of course we would support all of the government- mandated precautionary measures, including wearing masks and social distancing.

Thunder Bay leads the country in vaccination rates and case counts. Let’s lead again and take the next step to normal.  Unlike many of the inconsistent Covid policies, we have the ability to fix it, so long as there is the will to do it.

Parents, please join with me in having your voice heard. Contact the TBDHU, and tell them it’s time for kids to have our support in the stands.

Leila Coulter,
Thunder Bay

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