In a time of physical distancing, a new school year means many changes to the School Sports NL fall calendar. Both the Varsity and Participation Nation programs will see many changes, including 2 new and exciting initiatives designed to keep students active and engaged wherever possible.
VARSITY: All outdoor sports slated for the fall will be going ahead with new protocols in place. This includes Official Sports; Slo-Pitch, Outdoor Soccer and X-Country Running as well as Foundation Sports; Golf, Mountain Biking, Outdoor Ultimate Frisbee, and Co-ed Slo-Pitch.
Tournament structures for these sports will be tweaked slightly to enable schools within specific Regional Health Authorities to compete against one another. It is important to note that at the start of school, indoor sports and SSNL Provincial tournaments will be temporarily on hold and under review throughout the fall, pending reinstatement in accordance with NLESD and the Provincial Health authorities.
An exciting new sport to hit the pilot phase this fall for Varsity, is Esports. Esports is an inclusive, co-ed, STEM-infused activity and is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, with a number of highly followed professional leagues.
“We had been keeping an eye on the Esport trend across the country and were starting to put some serious thought into making it a Foundation Sport late last year.” states Varsity Coordinator, Sean Connolly. “And now, with the restrictions in place and the uncertainty around whether we can play our more traditional indoor sports, we feel there has never been a better time to entertain alternative ways to compete.”
Like SSNL’s traditional sport offerings, Esports would include practices – complete with warm-ups and drills, and would rely on sportsmanship and teamwork to be successful. Working with a national Esports organization, SSNL will be recruiting interested schools throughout the fall, making Esports available for the first time to schools in Newfoundland and Labrador.
PARTICIPATION NATION – After a successful run of the PN Active at Home Facebook series in the Winter/Spring of 2020, Participation Nation is launching a PN Active at Home YouTube Channel on September 14th.
The initiative, aimed at keeping students active without their usual Intramural sports, will be hosted by PN Core Coordinator, Courtney Russell and will feature new videos each Monday. To compliment the YouTube channel, there will continue to be a new activity posted on the SSNL Participation Nation FB page each Thursday. Videos and posts will include activities that have been adapted from the PN Core and Specialized programs.
“Like any other organization, we really have no idea what the fall will bring, but we wanted to ensure we had something available to our students to keep them active, regardless if they’re in school or out.” states Courtney Russell. “The PN Active at Home initiative was such a hit last year, that it was an obvious choice moving forward. But we’ve made some changes that will make it more easily accessible to our students and hopefully a little more engaging. Overall, we’re pretty excited with how everything has come together and we can’t wait to share it with our students.”
For the start of the school year, the Participation Nation Unplugged and the High School Spirit programs, will be temporarily on hold pending reinstatement by NLESD and the Provincial Health authorities. Students will instead be encouraged to follow along with the PN Active at Home YouTube Channel for weekly activities. The Participation Nation Core programs (Primary Achievement and Elementary Pin Winners) can resume. Please check out the PN Manual Covid edition for details.
As for the remainder of the Participation Nation’s specialized programs, the Outdoor Adventures and Sprockids programs will be delivered as usual with new protocols in place, and the individual Play-4-Fun programs will move to a digital space for weekly meets with the addition of group outdoor activities whenever possible.