July 30, 2020 1:45 pm StettlerLocal.com
In early June, Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association (ASAA) conducted a survey with Athletic Directors, Coaches, and Principals regarding the return of sports for the upcoming school year.
2,500 respondents took the survey created by ASAA; 200 people being principals, 300 Athletic Directors, and 2000 coaches. The survey intends to see how these members felt about the return-to-play and to give additional input on the situation. Coaches from almost every sport imaginable participated in the survey, as well as school representatives across the entire province.
Results showed that 10% of schools already had extra curricular restrictions in place for the upcoming seasons, 17% stated they did not, and the remaining schools were not sure about returning status.
A very important survey question was stated, “When conditions for the return to school athletics are deemed safe by the Alberta Government for your sport, will you feel comfortable returning to coach?” 2158 coaches stated they would feel comfortable, but on the contrary, coaches who did not feel comfortable amounted to 215.
ASAA asked respondents whether they should keep pre-COVID-19 sport rules, or have them modified. An example would be changing 5v5 Basketball to 3v3 basketball; not only would safety measures be implemented, but the game itself would change. 2335 votes favoured keeping the game rules traditional, and 159 votes for rule modifications.
Survey takers were asked to rank the options of how ASAA can create a safe sporting environment for the 2020-2021 school year. The options included cancelling sports, moving the season to a later start and finish date, condensing the season, moving fall sports to spring, and making sport modifications. Results showed the two favourite options were moving a season later in the year and condensing sports seasons, they had a combined amount of 1792 first and second option votes. Cancelling the sport for 2020-2021 had the fewest favourable votes with 1439.
Survey takers were asked to comment on necessary changes to maintain COVID-19 safety. Answers included limiting spectators, no handshakes, eliminating change rooms, sanitizing the ball every timeout/quarter, no travelling with symptoms, and other safety precautions.
ASAA listed many return-to-play related quotes from athletic directors, principals, and coaches.
“Extra-Curricular serves as a backbone for schools. Without them, schools struggle with participation and learning” - Athletic Director
“For many students, it is athletics that helps them push through the grind of learning. We also know the positive benefits that exercise has on learning and mental health.” - Principal
“I think not only will it be great for athletes, but helps with the whole school structure and having some normalcy in people’s lives. - Coach
To see full survey results and quotes, visit the ASAA website here.
Riley Turre, Student Reporter