The United States Sports Academy held a historic “virtual” signing ceremony with the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and Jamaica Paralympic Association (JPA) on 21 December, 2020, in Daphne. The Academy will use the institution’s expertise and resources to help aide in the development of the national sport effort in the Caribbean island nation of Jamaica.
Because of Covid-19, the signing ceremony was held virtually with the Academy faculty and staff on the institution’s campus in Daphne, while the JOA and JPA partners signed in Jamaica. Representing the Jamaica Olympic Association and Jamaica Paralympic Association were President Christopher L. Samuda, Secretary General and CEO Ryan Foster, Director Yvonne Kong, and Member Relations Manager Novelette Harris. The virtual ceremony is a first for the Academy, who traditionally holds “face-to-face” signings with its international partners. The Academy’s programs will also be delivered online to students and athletes in Jamaica until Covid-19 cases have declined to a safe level.
“In many ways, the event being conducted virtually is emblematic of the world of sports in 2020,” Academy President and CEO Dr. T.J. Rosandich said. “Before this past February, a signing ceremony for a Protocol for Cooperation between the Jamaica Olympic Association and Jamaica Paralympic Association and the Academy would have been conducted in Kingston (Jamaica) amidst sessions on program planning. We’ve all seen the changes to the sport profession at the local, regional, continental, and global levels this year. However, I view this step today in signing this protocol as an affirmation of the belief that sports will recover and continue to play a major role in society in the days to come.”
The protocol of cooperation marks the return of the institution’s post-secondary, non-degree programs to the Caribbean island nation of Jamaica for the first time in a decade. The Academy has delivered post-secondary, non-degree sport education programs in some 67 countries over nearly half a century. Once Covid-19 cases decline to a safe level, the institution plans to teach its programs on the ground in Jamaica.
“Fortunately, the Academy is well prepared to provide the quality sport education and workforce development programs that the JOA and JPA are seeking,” Rosandich said. “The Academy is already an acknowledged leader in providing online distance education programs. As conditions change and travel restrictions in Jamaica ease, the Academy is prepared to revert to onsite, face-to-face instruction.”