Travel restrictions prevent extracurricular participation for Campobello Island students
HALIFAX -- Residents of Campobello Island, New Brunswick, are feeling increasingly separated from the province as recent COVID-19 related travel restrictions prevent students from attending extracurricular activities on the mainland.
"We don't have a community centre, a rink, or other types of sports programs for the kids here," says parent and Campobello Island resident Amanda Matthews. "Their sports program are through the school because of the size of our community, they always have been, and this is really cutting the kids out of everything."
A provincial document dated January 14 says students from Campobello Island are not allowed to attend any extracurricular activities in New Brunswick, and vice-versa – a decision some people describe as discriminatory.
"We're just trying to live our life down here, do the best we can, and, all of a sudden, the government puts this thing that restricts an already restricted situation," says assistant coach Carson Savage.
In a statement, a spokesperson for New Brunswick's Department of Education says, "the document did not reflect that during the yellow alert phase, students are permitted to travel for extracurricular activities, provided they do so only using the Campobello ferry."
Although ferry service has been extended until March 7, due to COVID-19, Campobello does not have a year-round ferry service.
Green Party leader David Coon says the pandemic has brought this situation to a head.
"For the love of Pete, the premier needs to invest in a full-time, proper ferry that can move people back and forth from Campobello to the New Brunswick mainland," says Coon.
Meanwhile, residents hope for the sense of belonging that the pandemic and its restrictions have taken from them.
"We're trying to give some sense of normalcy to our children," says Savage. "The pandemic is rough for everyone, absolutely, and our children deserve an equal opportunity to participate in these sports."