Protocols being developed to ensure safe Champs, says ISSA boss

Protocols being developed to ensure safe Champs, says ISSA boss

BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
Observer writer

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

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THE staging of the Tyser-Mills Classics at Calabar High School recently not only signalled the return of track and field for junior athletes, but has also provided an opportunity for the safe staging of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships.

The cancellation of the championships earlier this year was a major disappointment for many people, so efforts to make it a possibility in 2021 will be greeted with joy by lovers of track and field.

President of the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), Keith Wellington pointed to the positives that came out of the staging of the meet and it being a precursor for the rest of the high school season.

“The fact that [Tyser-Mills meet] was held is a positive, and I must commend the organisers for having putting all the due diligence and the work to ensure that it got off the ground. You want to commend the schools that participated and the athletes, because I think it went well.

“There was a high level of compliance in terms of student athletes, officials and everybody meeting the protocols as prescribed by the Ministry of Health, so there is a lot of positives and I think it augurs well for the new season,” he said.

Wellington noted that constant learning will continue to take place all the way to the proposed date of Champs in late March, next year.

“We are hopeful that we can build on what we learned from that meet, going into the development season. While we are planning for Champs we have to be mindful that the lead-up to Champs is just as important, because obviously if something goes wrong there, it is going to affect what we do at Champs,” said the ISSA boss.

Wellington pointed to specific things that will be constantly looked at and fine-tuned from week to week.

“The normal protocols as it relates to physical distancing, mask-wearing might be difficult while competing, but sanitising — all of those broad principles will have to be adhered to. From organising we have to look at things like scheduling, number of participants; how they are allowed to participate; how you set up your marshalling area, your call room — all of those are things that we are looking to address,” he stated.

Wellington also said that the information will be shared with meet organisers and managers as they are developed during the season to ensure that “best practices” are developed.

“We are hoping to share those things with our meet organisers. We had a meeting with them on Thursday evening so we want to put best practices together and ensure that all the meets that are held will conform with these best practices.

“We have already started the discussions and we have already started to share ideas. It's ongoing; the education part of it will have to be right into Champs and during Champs. At appropriate times we will share pieces of information as to what is to be expected. Right now, we want to focus on the preseason and how we get our student athletes to participate safely,” he noted.

Wellington insisted that with a framework now in place it was up to meet organisers to work closely with the Ministry of Sport to get approval for the staging of their individual meets.

“Going back to the Tyser-Mills meets, we have a framework that each meet organiser can use and develop into their individual case, so that they can get the approval as soon as possible.

“We expect that they will work alongside the Ministry of Health leading up to the meet to ensure that the things that are specific to their venue are addressed and all the things that are required for getting it approved will be done in a timely basis. But we already have a framework that all the meet managers can follow, and the meet organisers now will look at their individual case and see how they can make adjustments for approval,” Wellington concluded.


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