IHSA Board approves acclimatization plan for return of winter sports


WCIA — There’s still no schedule or official start date for the return of high school games in any sport in Illinois but the IHSA released an acclimatization time for the return of winter sports on Tuesday. The Board used an email vote to approve a seven-day practice period before competition can begin for badminton, bowling, competitive cheer, competitive dance, girls’ gymnastics and boys’ swimming and diving.

IHSA leaders met online with athletic directors around the state on Tuesday, following Friday’s formal announcement from Gov. Pritzker and the IDPH, unveiling details for high school and youth sports to return to play. Falling COVID-19 positivity rates bring optimism that sports, especially in the lower-and-medium risk categories, will get to suit up before the end of the school year. A new graph was published by the IHSA on Tuesday, providing more detail into what sports can play based on COVID-19 numbers and geography.

Until further guidance is given by the IDPH, the IHSA is viewing Tier 1 and Phase 4 regions as one in the same.

 Phase 4/Tier 1Tier 2Tier 3
Low-Risk SportsNon-conference contests, out-of-state contests, tournaments & State Series allowedContests allowed within conference & regionPause all practices & contests
Medium-Risk SportsContests allowed within conference & regionPractices & intra-team scrimmages allowed. No contests or scrimmages vs. other schoolsPause all practices & contests
High-Risk SportsPractices & intra-team scrimmages allowed. No contests or scrimmages vs. other schoolsNo contact practices & trainingPause all practices & contests

***The IHSA Board will meet to determine when winter sports contests can begin***

Contact days or practices for spring, summer and fall sports can start on Jan. 25, with varying degrees of physicality allowed. For instance, lower risk sports like baseball and softball can hold full practices, while higher risk sports can’t have any close contact workouts but can still hold intra-team scrimmages. Formal schedules for the remainder of the school year are expected to be released following the next official Board of Directors meeting on Jan. 27.

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