The moment sports fans across Illinois has been waiting for has finally arrived. IHSA has released their Stage 1 Return to Play Guidelines.
“I commend the IHSA SMAC for crafting a plan that fits within the framework provided by state leadership, and refuses to compromise safety,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “The IHSA Return to Play Guidelines offer some important first steps in allowing student-athletes to reacclimate both physically and mentally to athletics, but more importantly, they allow each school to assess their own individual situation and determine if and when they want to proceed.”
An IHSA member high school may not conduct workouts under the Return to Play Guidelines unless they have local school district approval, and are located in a Health Region that is currently in Phase 3 (or better) under the Governor’s Restore Illinois plan. Any school within a Phase 3 Region of the state could begin to implement the Return to Play Guidelines on June 6.
“These guidelines fulfill the IHSA’s twin commitments to interscholastic sports and the health of the interscholastic athletes that play them,” said IHSA SMAC member Dr. Preston Wolin, the Surgeon/Director of Sports Medicine at Chicago Center for Orthopedics. “The SMAC has taken into account both the most recent news about the virus, and the opinions of experts across the country. Both the SMAC and the Board will continue to monitor events and medical opinions as time moves forward.”
“As a result of the Governor’s Restore Illinois Plan, beginning June 6, 2020 IHSA member schools are permitted to open for voluntary strength and conditioning sessions. School districts should work with their local health departments on current restrictions in their area prior to beginning contact,” the statement reads. “Local school administration determines the permitted activities at their school. Prioritizing the health and safety of all students and staff must remain the focus on each IHSA member school. Outdoor workouts are highly encouraged over indoor workouts to reduce transmission.”
The guidelines go in to effect on Saturday, June 6. Students are limited to three hours of participation per day.
Other requirements that must be adhered to include:
- Maintain social distance by being 6 feet apart
- Masks must be worn when social distance cannot be maintained
- Follow gathering guidelines of groups of 10 or less including the coach and medical personnel
- Groups of 10 or less must be pre-determined
- Once groups are determined, students may not switch from one group to another based upon sport. Students that participate in multiple sports for the year are encouraged to be grouped, for summer participation, in their fall sport
- Sessions can only include weightlifting, running, and exercises designed to promote physical fitness.
- Sport-specific drills are not permitted and sport-specific equipment may not be used
- Coaches must maintain a daily record of what athletes are participating, when, symptoms may present
- Athletes should be monitored at start of practice fr temperature >100.4F/37C or symptoms of COVID-19 (fevers, chills, cough, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of taste or smell)
- If symptoms are present they should not participate in practice and should be referred to a physician for evaluation and testing.
- Free weight exercises that require a spotter cannot be conducted while honoring social distancing norms. Safety measures in all forms must be strictly enforced in the weight room
- Players shall bring their own water bottle, shoes, towels, and other personal equipment. The use of locker rooms, shared water coolers with cups, and water fountains will be prohibited during Stage 1
IHSA member schools must comply with the above requirements. Additionally, IHSA member school sponsored camps, clinics, and open gyms are prohibited in any sport at this time.
It is encouraged that Athletic Trainers or medical personnel be available for workouts. they should be masked for any interactions with athletes and maintain 6-foot distance when feasible.
There is no given marker that would cite movement to Stage 2 at this time.