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COVID-19: Springbank coach pens petition urging school board to allow tournaments

Basketball coach Brian Hunter has had more than 1,300 sign in support his call on Rocky View Schools to reverse limited play decision
The Chestermere Lakers senior boys' team won the RVSA championship March 7, defeating the Cochrane Cobras.

Rocky View Schools announced earlier this month that sporting events will only be able to proceed if both teams are from the school division.

That means teams from Airdrie, Cochrane and other division schools can't participate in tournaments. 

The decision to limit play was made in effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, but Springbank Phoenix senior boys' basketball coach Brian Hunter says this is a mistake. 

"Every student playing sports right now is devastated," he wrote in a petition that has already been supported by more than 1,300 people. 

Hunter said Rocky View is the only division in the province to "ban all Rocky View students from attending athletic tournaments for the remainder of the season." 

He noted the move is based on an out-dated health mandate written by the health authority in August. 

"Overall welfare of children should be considered," Hunter said, noting student athletes' attendance to movies, parties and recreation centres put them in the same risk situation a tournament would. 

Messages from those in support of Hunter's position echo the sentiments that mental health of children is more critical than the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus. 

"There is no net COVID 'win' but real harm is done to children," he said. "The only 'win' is that potential COVID transmission is not a liability for (superintendent) Mr. (Greg) Luterebach." 

Rocky View School Board officials are reportedly discussing this further in an in-camera meeting Jan. 20.