IDPH updates All Sports Policy, guidance for return of sports

Sports

WCIA — The Illinois Department of Public Health updated its All Sports Policy on Friday, as several regions across the state move into Tier 2 COVID-19 mitigations or are close to moving into fewer restrictions. Regions 1, 2 and 5 are now into Phase 4, Tier 2 mitigations, meaning low-risk sports may restart. Other regions, including Region 6 that includes Champaign and Macon County, could move into Tier 2 mitigations as early as Saturday, if the metrics continue to improve.

Several metrics have to be met for regions to advance out of mitigations. To go from Tier 3 to Tier 2, the test positivity rate has to be below 12 percent for three consecutive days and on a 7-day average. In addition, staffed hospital and ICU beds have to be at least 20 percent available for three consecutive days and a sustained decline in COVID patients in the hospital on a 7-day average and 7 out of 10 days. For Region 6, which includes Champaign County and the surrounding areas, all metrics were met on Friday, except the last one.

Gov. Pritzker announced the state wide changes during a virtual press conference on Friday.

“With all of these mitigations, they’re posing challenges for everybody,” Pritzker said. “The choices that we’ve had to make, that I’ve had to make are between bad and worse In those lower tiers, there are youth sports that are opening up and I think that’s a good beginning.

“I would like to see the numbers continue falling for more open play of sports. And we’re going to continue making sure that happens across the state.”

The IHSA released updated information on Friday afternoon, announcing further participation for winter and spring/summer sports.

WINTER SPORTS FOR SCHOOLS IN TIER 2 REGIONS
Low-Risk Sports: Can begin practice immediately and will begin competition within their geographic region on a future date to be determined by the IHSA Board.
Medium-Risk Sports: There are currently no winter sports categorized as medium-risk.
High-Risk Sports: Team training with no physical contact may begin immediately.

“This is certainly positive news for three regions of the state, but we still have a long way to go until we get all of our student-athletes back to being active,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said in a statement. “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 these other regions to Tier 2 and cannot risk having others backslide.”

Spring and summer sports for schools located in regions under Tier 2 mitigations may begin to conduct contact days on Monday, January 25, 2021. All contact days must be conducted under the rules of the IDPH All Sports Policy based on their risk level. Weight training may be conducted in regions under Tier 2 mitigations as along as social distancing and masks are utilized.

All IHSA athletic activities remain on pause for schools that are located in Regions that remain under Tier 3 or Tier 4 mitigations. There are no medium-risk IHSA sports in the winter, while boys & girls basketball are the lone high-risk winter sports. The IHSA’s low-risk winter sports include Badminton, Boys Swimming & Diving, Cheerleading, Dance, Boys & Girls Bowling, and Girls Gymnastics.

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