IHSA updates Phase 4 Return to Play Guidelines: No masks for coaches outside if social distancing

Sports

WCIA — The IHSA announced more changes to its Phase 4 Return to Play Guidelines on Wednesday night, in an email sent to school administrators by IHSA executive director Craig Anderson. The note outlined three changes, including coaches no longer needing to wear a mask outdoors, if they’re practicing social distancing. The adjusted protocols come just one day after the IHSA announced it is deferring all decision making on Return to Play Guidelines to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois State Board of Education and Governor’s office.

In addition to coaches no longer needing to wear masks, Anderson also clarified that swimmers do not need to wear a mask in the pool. Using sleds, bags, or hand shields are also permitted to help prevent person-to-person contact.

Several changes have been sent out by the IHSA the past few weeks, as the organization works to restart sports. Phase 4 guidelines were approved on July 3, allowing contact and competitions to take place. That means football teams could play 7-on-7 games against other teams, while basketball and volleyball teams could start summer league games. Then last Thursday, just six days later, modifications were made to those guidelines, eliminating contact and contests.

“We still believe there is a path to conducting high school athletics in the fall, like the majority of states surrounding Illinois plan to do,” Anderson said in a statement released Tuesday. “To make that happen, it’s important that we allow IDPH, ISBE and the Governor’s Office to take the lead on ensuring the safest and most consistent protocols.”

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