"There's a bit of a buzz in the building," says Jim Kittl, the vice principal at St. Joseph's Catholic High School in Windsor as school sports return.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit and all four of the region's public school boards have agreed extracurricular activities can return now that COVID-19 case counts are down.
Kittl said practice can resume immediately, and league play will return on November 22.
"The joy that we've seen when those sign-up lists go up," he said. "They haven't gone up for well over a year and a half. We were in the midst of spring season try-outs in March 2020 when we got shut down, and there's been nothing since then."
He said there is still a question mark around football. It isn't clear if that sport will resume, and others will be delayed.
"Some sports are going to be moved to the spring, so golf, tennis, and cross-country, they're all going to be moved to the spring," he explained. "None of the sports interfere with the playing fields or the practicing times of the other sports that are traditional spring sports."
For some activities, the change will work well. For example, Kittl said cross country could take place at the same time as track and field.
There are some restrictions. According to the health unit's guidelines, all students from grades seven to 12 must be fully vaccinated and must provide proof that they are.
Kittl anticipates some pushback.
"This has become the new norm for society and sports," he said. "Those are the rules that were set in place, and we're simply following the guidelines set forth by the health unit."
Other extracurricular activities, like clubs, have returned too.