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Using science and evidence to enable school sports to continue

On Tuesday June 1, I spoke of the urgent need as Manitoba opens up,  to be able to resume physical activities and sports, especially for young people.   

 Physical Activity Programs and Team Sports

Participation of Vaccinated Population

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): 

      Mr. Deputy Speaker, physical fitness and athletic activities are important to good health, especially in young people.

      Once hospitalizations and ICU cases are down, will the government allow full participation in fitness  and athletic activity, including team sports, in  communities and regions which reach a specific proportion of the population vaccinated as, for example, in communities with 80 per cent of Manitobans 12 years of age or older having had at least one of their vaccine doses?

      And will the government also use rapid testing, as Utah has shown works, to keep team sports safe? I table a copy of the Utah studies.

Hon. Kelvin Goertzen (Acting Minister of Health and Seniors Care): I know that public health, led by Dr. Roussin, has often indicated that, whether it's schools, which he believes should be the last things to close and the first things to open, or youth activity is extremely, extremely important and they've done everything they can during this pandemic to keep those opportunities going for youth. But we also know that there's been a disruption and that has been hard on young people. We hear that from many young people.

      So I do know that, in the planning for reopening–and we all hope that can be sooner than later; we have a fight right now when it comes to the third wave, but when we look at reopening that is one of the priorities that public health has placed: ensuring that young people can have that activity that they so desire and that they so need for their physical and mental health, Mr. Deputy Speaker.


The study itself was summarized as follows in an article in CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”  The full article can be found at this  link. 

“Utah implemented two high school COVID-19 testing programs to sustain in-person instruction and extra-curricular activities.  During November 30, 2020-March 20, 2021, among 59,552 students who received testing, 1886 (3.2%) had a positive result.  These programs facilitated the completion of approximately 95% of high school extracurricular competition events and saved an estimated 109,752 in-person instruction student days.” 


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