OTTAWA YOUTH NEED GYMS OPEN FOR BASKETBALL - SCHOOL BOARD ASSIST REQUESTED

OTTAWA YOUTH NEED GYMS OPEN FOR BASKETBALL - SCHOOL BOARD ASSIST REQUESTED

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Ottawa Shooting Stars started this petition to Jim Watson

OTTAWA YOUTH NEED GYMS OPEN FOR BASKETBALL

SCHOOL BOARD ASSIST REQUESTED TO SAVE THE SEASON FOR 8,000 YOUTH

To:  Ottawa Public School Board Leadership 

We are writing on behalf of the Eastern Ontario Basketball Association, a group that provides programming to over 8,000 Ottawa children including many low-income, marginalized and racialized youth.  Basketball relies on public school gyms for a large percentage of programming, and unfortunately, Ottawa school gyms have been closed for community use for 19 months with no clear roadmap/ pathway to reopen.  We are requesting your support to engage the basketball community and Ottawa Public Health to develop a communal reopening plan (with associated timelines) to save the season.


Reasonable School Board Approach (Early-On)

The EOBA is truly appreciative of all that the Boards have done to keep children safe and in class.  It has been completely understandable to be cautious as schools opened in Sept to in-class learning, and it has also been clear that extra cleaning protocols have resulted in staff/custodial impacts. However, the landscape has been changing.

Ministry of Education Guidance

In October, the Ministry of Education came out strongly supporting access to Community Use of Schools (CUS) and encouraged Boards to work with organizations to help make it happen.  Unfortunately, the EOBA community has had challenges engaging the four Ottawa Boards to work together (collaboratively) to plan a reopening.

Toronto School Boards Prioritized School Gym Reopening 

The Toronto District School Board and Toronto Catholic District School Board worked collaboratively with Toronto Public Health and the basketball community to exact a roadmap to reopening facilities. which led to weekend reopening (beginning Oct. 16).  At this stage, Ottawa is lagging.

Season on the Brink - January 17, 2022 

EOBA Executives ascertained that Jan 17th represents the latest date a full slate of programs can  recommence. Working back, b-ball planners require lead times to plan, offer & implement said programs.


Ottawa Public School Board Assistance Requested


Collaboration:  At present, there is no collaborative pathway to reopening.  We ask the Boards appoint representative(s) to work with the EOBA basketball community, OPH, and other interested parties to develop a plan for CUS reopening.  If such discussions are already underway, we ask to be included… to have a “seat at the table”.  The EOBA has over-indexed in terms of Covid safety measures and protocols, and is ready to assist (where possible) in any gaps the Board still experiences.  

Help Save the Season:  Given that Jan 17th represents the latest date a full slate of basketball programs can reasonably recommence, we ask Boards prioritize efforts / plans to help make (or improve upon) that date, and provide clarity to EOBA as to its intent no later than Dec 6 so we can plan accordingly.

On behalf of the entire EOBA family, thank you very much for your consideration, and we look forward to your response to this time-sensitive matter.  In that vein, Derek Firth has been appointed our spokesperson, and can be reached at  derek.firth@gmail.com.

Yours in Sport,

The Eastern Ontario Basketball Association Leadership  (8,000+ youth in the Region)

Jim Tebrake - President, Eastern Ontario Basketball Assn.
Eric Johannsen - President, Nepean Blue Devils Basketball Assn.
Brad Strong - President, Gloucester Cumberland Basketball Assn.
Derek Firth - President, Ottawa Shooting Stars
Jeff Wilson - President, Kanata Youth Basketball Assn.
Geoff Crampton - President, Ottawa South Basketball Assn.
Dennis Brookson - President, Kemptville Warriors Basketball Assn.
Dan Case -President, West Ottawa Basketball Assn.

 

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