BLOOMINGTON — IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson released an update to member schools Tuesday evening detailing recent meetings with the IDPH regarding a return to athletic activities. The IHSA has also created an online COVID-19 resource page, which can be seen at https://www.ihsa.org/Resources/COVID-19, that will be updated with daily metrics.
Regions under Tier 3 mitigations cannot conduct athletic activities. Regions under Tier 2 mitigations can conduct competitions and practices for low-risk sports as well as intrasquad scrimmages for medium-risk sports and no-contact practices for high-risk sports.
Regions under Tier 1 or Phase 4 mitigations can conduct competitions and practices for low and medium-risk sports as well as intrasquad scrimmages for high-risk sports.
Low-risk winter sports include badminton, bowling, cheerleading, dance, gymnastics, swimming and diving.
Basketball is currently a high-risk winter sport. There are no medium-risk winter sports. Medium-risk sports for spring and summer include volleyball, water polo and soccer. High-risk sports for spring and summer include football and wrestling.
“This is certainly positive news, but we still have a long way to go until we get all of our student-athletes back to being active,” Anderson said. “High school student-athletes are hurting from a mental, physical and emotional standpoint, so we hope this is the first step toward getting that back to some normalcy. We all need to continue to take the mitigations seriously. Wear a mask. Socially distance. We need to get other regions to Tier 2 and cannot risk having any backslides.”
“The IHSA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee helped us determine the appropriate amount of acclimatization time for the return of winter sports,” Anderson said. “Our board approved a plan today for winter sports via an email vote. Below are the number of practice days each sport will need to complete prior to playing their first contest:
Badminton: Seven practice days after first practice. Bowling: Seven practice days after practice. Competitive Cheer: Seven practice days after first practice. Competitive Dance: Seven practice days after first practice. Girls Gymnastics: Seven practice days after first practice. Boys Swimming and Diving: Seven practice days after first practice.”
“Some Regions have moved from Tier 1 to Phase 4,” Anderson said. “At this time, we are considering them one in the same. IDPH currently has no Phase 4 guidance posted and we believe that previous Phase 4 guidance we have from IDPH has likely expired. We will follow-up as soon as we know more.”
Fall, Spring & Summer Sports
“Please keep in mind that fall, spring and summer sports can begin IHSA contact days beginning on Jan. 25,” Anderson said. “Their allowable actions are also addressed in the chart on the aforementioned IHSA COVID-19 page.”
“In normal circumstances, a student-athlete would need to terminate contact with a non-school/travel team within seven days of their first high school practice,” Anderson said. “Given that the entire state is not yet afforded the same opportunities, any low or medium-risk winter sports that are starting practice will not yet count toward the time when they must cease participation with non-school teams. We will announce a universal start that will align with the seven-day window for travel sports following the next board meeting.”
“Schools in Phase 4, Tier 1 and Tier 2 can conduct weight training with masks and social distancing,” Anderson said. “Schools in Tier 3 would remain limited to one-on-one training with a coach and student-athlete.”
“There are some contradicting numbers from IDPH about gathering limitations for sports and weight-training ranging from 10 to 25 to 50 people,” Anderson said. “We’ve been told IDPH will update information for us tomorrow on this subject that we will pass along then.”
“The Illinois High School Association Board of Directors will meet again on Wednesday, Jan. 27,” Anderson said. “It is my expectation that there we will come out of that meeting with a more formalized schedule for the remainder of the year.”