Ensuring the safety of participants during any activity is critical to its success. All activities must be supervised. This is a vital role of school staff, particularly educators who must be present during the event or activity. Only educators and administrators with a current certification from the Ontario College of Teachers and under contract by the school or school board can supervise intramural activities. Volunteers such as educational assistants, retired educators, co-op students, parents, family members, caregivers, early childhood educators, and teacher candidates can assist in the supervision, but they must be accompanied by an educator or administrator at all times. Occasional teachers may supervise activities but must have students participate in physical activities that correspond with their ability to safely supervise that activity.
The Ontario Physical Education Safety Guidelines (OPESG) designates the types of supervision required. The three types of supervision take into consideration the risk level of the activity, the participants’ skill level, and the participants’ maturity. The level of risk increases with an increase in the number of participants, the lower the skill level of the participants, and the type of equipment used, so when planning intramural activities determining your supervision requirements is critical to safety.
The supervision required for various activities is listed on all activity pages in the Ontario Physical Education Safety Guidelines, so before leading an intramural event or activity that involves physical activity access the Ontario Physical Education Safety Guidelines website. This site will provide you with the information you need to run a safe event or activity. Begin with the Intramural Safety Module. Review the Fundamentals of Safety for Intramural Activities – Elementary (Grades 1–8) or Secondary (Grades 9–12). The Fundamentals of Safety for Intramural Activities include guidelines for safety that are common to all intramural activities and more detailed information about the three types of supervision.
Once you have reviewed the Fundamentals of Safety for Intramural Activities, access the relevant activity or sport page in the Ontario Physical Education Safety Guidelines.
For intramural activities that are played according to official rules and equipment (e.g., volleyball, ball hockey, cooperative games etc.) or are "sport imitations" (e.g., "3 on 3", Newcombe ball, volleyball, Scooter Soccer etc.), consult the appropriate activity page in the appropriate Curricular module (Elementary Curricular, Secondary Curricular). For a sport or game that is not described in the Curricular or Intramural modules (Elementary Intramural, Secondary Intramural), consult the guidelines of the activity it most resembles.
To introduce a sport, sport imitation, or low-organization game activity that is not included or does not resemble an activity in the Curricular or Intramural modules of the Ontario Physical Education Safety Guidelines, approval from the appropriate school board official must be received. As part of this process, the educator or intramural supervisor must demonstrate that all appropriate precautions will be taken in the interest of student safety.
All activities in Ophea’s Raise the Bar Intramural Program require either on-site or in-the-area supervision. The ratio of supervisors to participants is determined by the facility space and in consultation with the school administration.
If you need further support in establishing supervision and safety requirements for your intramural program, consider consulting colleagues within your school who run physical activity programs and your school administrator. You might also consider visiting the Ontario Physical Education Safety Guidelines home page where you can use Ask Ophea.