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J. Thomas McNamara

    Despite the best efforts of so many coaches, including Maroa-Forsyth’s Josh Jostes, who was among the leaders of the organized rallies last weekend in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said today (Monday) in Springfield there would not be any prep football this fall.
    At today’s appearance in Springfield to tout the state’s testing program, Pritzker said he still isn’t convinced high school football, girls volleyball and other contact sports can safely be played at this stage of the coronavirus pandemic. He said that’s the case despite Illinois being a leader in testing for COVID-19 which is a key factor in controlling the spread of the disease.
    “There are a lot of other things that are at work here other than testing that affect whether or not we would have certain sports available to be played by high schoolers in the fall,” he said. “I think they’re (medical experts) concern is that certain sports that are high contact sports are likely to result in the exchange of sweat, saliva and so on the field and even off the field.”
    Pritzker said some high school sports are being played that don’t involve direct contact between players such as cross country, swimmer, tennis and baseball.
    “There’s quite a long list of relatively low risk sports that have been allowed as a result of the decisions by our doctors,” he said.
    Pritzker remained unswayed by the fact many surrounding states have allowed football and other contact sports to be played at the high school level this fall. 
    He also dismissed the fact the National Football League is two weeks into its season without any large outbreaks of the COVID-19 virus.  Professional sports leagues have the resources to do more testing and undertake extensive cleaning of their facilities that are beyond the abilities of most school districts, he said.
    He also said now is not the time to relax the state’s efforts at combating the virus.
    “The reason we aren’t just letting everything go at this point is because the virus is still out there,” he said. “We still have a relatively high positivity rate.  It’s lower than our neighbors, that’s true, but there are quite a number of states that have lower positivity rates than we do.”
    I will have more on this developing story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune, including the role Jostes took in trying to convince the Governor to change his mind by helping organize the rallies which may not have achieved their goal, but at least it illustrated once again that Jostes isn’t afraid to standup for his Maroa-Forsyth student-athletes, but all student-athletes in Illinois.

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