Youth rec programs to remain shuttered

·2 min read

SHERBROOKE – The Municipality of District of St. Mary’s will keep youth recreation programs locked down, “erring on the side of caution rather than opening up another box” during a resurgent pandemic, council decided last week.

Council unanimously passed a motion at its committee of the whole meeting on Jan. 5 – the date programming was tentatively scheduled to restart – to continue the suspension it imposed before Christmas for the foreseeable future.

Addressing council, Deputy Warden James Fuller said, “It’s a changing situation and we have no control over it… It’s just an uncertain time right now [and] we want to make sure we’re erring on the side of caution rather than opening up another box.”

Director of Community Development and Recreation Kerri Penney agreed.

“Personally, I would like to hold off on programs starting back up,” she said. “That’s just my personal comfort level. I’m trying to keep my kids home as [much as] possible. I feel like [other] parents would probably be doing the same. In my professional opinion, I’d like to go on maybe a period of two weeks or something like that where we keep reassessing.”

On Dec. 16, after hearing from municipal staff, council halted the Recplex’s learn to figure skate, free skates, house league Hockey, learn to skate, and learning to master healthy meals classes for young people, following a huge surge in Covid cases across the province due to the spread of the Omicron strain.

In a presentation to council at that time, the municipality’s Active Living Coordinator Mallory Fraser said, “We don’t want one of our recreation programs to become a spreading event. We have youth who are in different grades and who are currently not allowed to mix with their peers at school.”

The provincial government has since announced in-class learning will resume on Jan. 17 but, at last week’s meeting, Penney said, “There’s actually a lot of controversy about going back to school right now. The school [St. Mary’s Education Centre and Academy] is going to be pretty well locked down with Covid rules; no visitors, nothing like that. It will actually be difficult for us to even get in there and do things.”

Council agreed to review the situation on an ongoing basis. “If anything changes, we can call a special meeting,” Fuller said.

On Jan 7, Nova Scotia reported 1,145 new cases of COVID-19.

Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal

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