Welcome to the 15th episode of the St. Albert Signal, a weekly community podcast about the St. Albert area. Listen to the 15th episode below:
The community of St. Albert took its biggest step in leaving behind the COVID-19 pandemic on July 1. Most of the health restrictions were lifted and people have been free to indulge in activities they previously weren’t able to. One of these activities is gymnastics.
The St. Albert Gymnastics Club is one of the many sports organizations gearing up for a big summer. Zoe Spaans, the executive director, says the pandemic was frustrating for everyone involved with the club.
“We’ve actually been shut down three times this past year,” said Spaans. “We had to rewrite policy and get approvals just to get back open again, so it’s been a crazy year, but i think we handled it OK.”
Zoe said there is still plenty of work to be done to make sure everyone re-enters their facilities safely. The majority of the people in the club are under the age of 12 – an age category still awaiting vaccines. Parents and older siblings might be fully vaccinated, but this younger clientele is still at risk of contracting the disease.
“The biggest issue we are dealing with is that we cater to a population of kids and those kids are not vaccinated,” said Spaans. “We’re still being told to try to maintain distance, try to wear masks where you can, and to try to help out these younger athletes.”
To combat this issue, Spaans said the club will still be implementing a variety of different health guidelines until COVID numbers drop. They are maintaining the mask requirement as well as limiting class sizes this summer.
“We are looking to make the max number of kids in a class as six, usually we are at eight to 10,” said Spaans.
“We may go over that in certain cases, but we are really trying to limit the number of kids so that we can spread out a little bit more, take up a little more space, and keep all those kids separated.”
The club has also changed what kinds of classes they will be offering over the summer. Full days will not be available due to COVID concerns, which will be replaced by half days.
“We decided against offering full-day camps. A lot of people have been asking why, and the biggest reason is that we don’t want to be eating in our facility and we don’t want the little guys in there for a whole day without a snack,” said Spaans. “We are really excited about (half-day camps). We have really fun themes planned for each week.”
Visit stalbertgymnastics.com to explore summer camp options.