MONTEGO BAY, St James - President of the County of Cornwall Athletics Association (COCAA) Stephen Smith says only fully vaccinated athletes and officials will be allowed at events that are organised by the association.
“We will adopt the stance taken by ISSA [Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association] and ask that all students and coaches taking part at COCAA events be vaccinated in order to participate as we have to try and protect our athletes and others,” said Smith.
The announcement was made during a recent virtual meeting where it was also heard that two days had been set aside for the staging of Western Champs — March 1 and 4 — if both are needed, depending on the number of entries.
COCAA organises the Western High Schools track and field champions as well as other development meets in the county.
Western Champs had been held over three days for more than a decade until last year when it was held on just one day due to insufficient entries as a number of schools opted out due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Smith noted that a number of other agencies and organisations have had to change their strategies due to the prevailing conditions, stressing that if COCAA is to host events, it would have to do the same.
Keith Wellington, the president of ISSA, and who was part of the meeting, explained his association's stance, saying they had adopted the vaccination policy for the football competitions that started in November last year.
“For football every one participating — players, coaches and officials — have all had to be vaccinated,” he said.
“We have taken a position at ISSA that for any competition that we will be having this year will only be for persons who are fully vaccinated, we are not saying that you have to be vaccinated, we are saying that if you wish to participate in any of our competitions that we are having you must be fully vaccinated,” he explained.
The ISSA president said it was his understanding that for any sporting organisation to get permission from the Government to host events, there must be a vaccination policy in place.
“The alternative to a vaccine policy is a testing regime which obviously is not something that any of us as organisations can afford and so what we have done is to say it is a vaccination policy that we will have for our competitions,” he pointed out, adding that it cost ISSA $27 million last year to conduct tests for the ISSA Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships.