The Winter Sports Season at HBHS

Dear Parents and Caregivers

While your son's remote learning from home has been his main priority over the past month, there will be many students now turning their thoughts to their winter sports season and what it is going to look like on returning to school. We all understand the critical role that sport will play in contributing to the mental and social wellbeing of our students and to the resumption of some type of normality to their lives. 

All of us have enjoyed watching the imagination and creativity of people around New Zealand, both young and old, developing exciting and engaging ways of adapting sport and being physically active in lockdown. School Sport New Zealand recently completed a survey of young people who reported being more active and trying more new sports and physical activity during lockdown than previously. Their enthusiasm for sport has been inspiring and something we will aim to capture and build on as we return to school.

I want to thank our Captain of Sport, Charles Annals, and his team of Year 13 helpers who initiated and managed an Esports programme for more than 300 Hamilton Boys’ High School students who registered over the lockdown period. Esports is growing globally as a recognised form of sport with multiplayer video game team competitions. It was a way to encourage our students to socialise while keeping their competitive instincts alive and was well received by our students. 

I would encourage your son to participate in the exciting new initiative called ‘Home Advantage’. Some of New Zealand’s best-known coaches and athletes across more than twenty National Sports Organisations are leading a series of daily workouts, games and challenges. These fun, free videos feature athletes such as Olympians Luuka Jones (Canoe Slalom) and Ryan Fox (Golf), as well as players from the Tall Blacks, Black Sticks and Volley Ferns. Click on the link Home Advantage to view and participate. There are already over 60 free videos available, with new videos being released daily, each intended to last approximately 30 mins.

So what will the winter sports season look like at Hamilton Boys’ High School when the majority of students return to school under Alert Level 2?

Sport New Zealand has published a generic set of guidelines that outlines what activities can be completed within all four alert levels. This is for sports that have non-contact activity (e.g. table tennis, golf), contact activity (e.g. rugby, basketball, football, hockey), water sports (e.g. swimming, kayaking, surfing) and active recreation (e.g. tramping, hunting). While these guidelines are useful, we are awaiting more definitive guidelines around permissible sporting activities under the alert levels to be released in the coming days by the various National Sports Organisations. This will help all school and community groups commence their winter sports season safely.  

There will be no organised, festival or in-house competitions run by Hamilton Boys' High School under Alert Level 2. They are simply not allowed under the current guidelines. However, some trainings will be allowed but must comply with the strict physical distancing and hygiene measures in place.

Organised competitions will only resume when we are at Alert Level 1. There will likely be a short but mandatory pre-season to support player safety and well-being and it is likely that these competitions will take place within the region.

The collaboration between schools in the past weeks has been encouraging as we continue to work together to share problems and solutions. In the numerous meetings and discussions over the past fortnight with my colleagues, Sport Waikato and at Super 8 level, it has become clear that resuming school sport for our students will be more readily achieved at local (intraschool) and regional (interschool) levels. 

The Board of School Sport NZ,  have already announced the suspension of the national secondary schools’ sports programme until the beginning of Term 3. A decision on winter tournament week proceeding in the first week of September is to be made later this month.

Last week, the twenty-two teachers in-charge of a winter sports code at Hamilton Boys’ High School shared ideas in a Zoom meeting on how they will approach the safe commencement of their winter sports code here at school under Alert Level 2. This meeting demonstrated how much the staff care about your son engaging in the sport that they are in charge of administering. 

Starting our winter sports season at Hamilton Boys' High School will require your patience as we do our best to ensure a safe transition back into sport. You can rest assured all teachers in-charge have your son's safety as their main priority. In the meantime, ensure your son keeps his fitness levels up by following a regular training routine to enable him to be ready for the winter sports season on his return to school.  

Kind regards
Murray McKenzie
Director of Sport