On October 1, the provincial government increased the number of players able to play sports from 10 to 50. As a result, Mabou Rec Soccer resumed play and we have been joyfully playing outdoors every week since.

But winter is coming and our days on the field are numbered. Normally in October, we move indoors to the gym at Dalbrae Academy in Mabou. But we can’t this year as no one apart from staff and students is permitted in schools due to COVID-19. We are asking the Nova Scotia Government to reconsider this policy.

The Atlantic Bubble is very much working for Nova Scotia. We are doing better than much of the country because we are following public health rules. People are wearing masks, people are isolating after traveling and people are listening to the experts. Because of this, the second wave has yet to arrive in Nova Scotia.

As usual rural areas were disadvantaged by the government’s announcement. We don’t have soccer domes in Inverness County. We don’t have rec centres for volleyball, basketball, badminton, pickleball, nor studios for yoga and Tai Chi. We just have our schools. If the schools are closed to the community, rural areas like Inverness County suffer disproportionately to towns and cities. We are missing out on physical activity and a chance to be active with our friends. In Mabou, our public library isn’t even able to fully open because it’s in the school.

Our group (and likely many other recreational groups) will happily abide by any reasonable public health measures to ensure school gyms are reopened to our groups. We will do what it takes to keep our province and our schools safe as we have been since March. Please don’t dismiss the importance of recreational sport programs to their participants. We need to be active and we need our schools back.

Any other groups wanting to join our call to reopen rural schools in Nova Scotia can reach out to me at (902) 258-7498.

Thom Oommen

Nevada Valley