School sports are normally loud events, with teams cheering and chanting through the day’s events. Not so for the regatta being held in Ballarat this weekend where chanting has been banned because of … Covid.
The Ballarat Head of the Lake rowing regatta on Sunday the 27th February has banned all chanting to bring the sporting event in line with existing Covid health orders.
This comes despite Covid health orders being withdrawn entirely from many countries in the world.
“All seven school principals [of the schools competing in the event] met and had a consistent approach to Covid compliance and safety in the sport. Singing and not physical distancing I think is the biggest health issue,” said Ballarat High School principal Gary Palmer, who is the head of the regatta.
The regatta will allow the spit crews to cheer.
As for motivation for the competing students, each of the schools in the regatta will be allowed to occupy a designated section near the finish line with a tightly controlled ‘one person per 0.75 square metre’ rule.
Year 12 students will also not be allowed to attend, with Mr Palmer confirming that the crowd control would be too difficult.
“The last thing I want to do is take 200 year-12s with 20 staff and have them try and control the crowd.”
They are not the first school to ban chanting due to Covid. Schools in Melbourne controversially banned chanting while states such as NSW were also given directives by the government health department to silence school choirs and ‘all school-related singing’. Other schools put restrictions on the playing of wind instruments in school orchestras.
The Covid measures are controversial, with many parents objecting to what they see as an unreasonable disruption to their children’s school experience, especially as health departments confirm that children have almost no risk of serious harm from Covid.