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No fans in the stands, a decision made by school boards – health unit

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The decision to not allow spectators at indoor or outdoor high school sporting events was made by the four local school boards, according to the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit.

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The Nugget contacted the health unit to clarify who made the decision to not allow spectators to watch indoor or outdoor games, practices and activities.

“The policy that establishes the protocols for school extracurricular activities was developed by the school boards. We recommend reaching out to school boards directly on this matter,” a statement from the health unit’s communications department said.

Numerous emails sent to the Near North District School Board were not returned.

Victoria Johnson, executive assistant to the director of education for the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board, did respond but indicated she would not be able to meet The Nugget’s deadline.

The Nugget contacted the Ministry of Education to see if restricting visitors from attending a high school sports game was a directive from the province. It is not.

Ingrid Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Education, said visitors to a high school sporting event should follow direction provided in assemblies and visitors sections within the ‘COVID-19: Health, safety and operational guidance for schools (2021-2022).’

“School assemblies or other student/school gatherings are permitted and should follow the relevant provincial requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act. This can include multiple cohorts in alignment with provincial capacity limits and includes allowance for in-school student-to-student peer support programs,” she stated in an email.

“Any visitors to a school are required to self-screen and to wear a medical mask (for example, surgical/procedural) while on school premises. A medical mask will be provided by the school if needed. In addition to the requirement for visitors to perform daily self-screening, school boards are expected to have a process in place to confirm the daily self-screening of all visitors prior to or upon their arrival at school.”

Anderson said at the advice of the local public health unit, school boards may be asked to restrict visitor access.

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