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J. Thomas McNamara

     Mark Feb. 1st your calendar as the date prep sports, including boys and girls basketball, will begin.
     I write that because sources are telling the Chicago Sun-Times that the Chicago Public Schools plan to reopen elementary schools for in-classroom education that date.
If that’s the case the junior high and high schools will be right there, too.
     Recently, Chicago Public Schools seem more aware of when Gov. J.B. Pritzker is about to make an announcement than the Illinois High School Association. There appears to better communication. This is the second time CPS had a sports move ready to go within hours, while the IHSA seemed surprised.
     The is the city’s most concrete move yet to reopen schools for the first time during the pandemic.
     After Gov. Pritzker’s Tuesday announcement that pause prep sports, IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson released this statement, “The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) recognizes that today’s (Tuesday) announcement by Governor Pritzker will temporarily pause the IHSA’s winter sports season. We remain optimistic that these new mitigations, coupled with the emergence of a vaccine, will aid in creating participation opportunities in the New Year for IHSA student-athletes in winter, spring, and summer sports.
     “The IHSA Board of Directors will meet as scheduled on (Thursday) Nov. 19, 2020, to continue plotting out potential paths for IHSA sport and activity participation through the remainder of the school year. Although representatives from the Governor’s office and the Illinois Department of Public Health will be unable to attend the meeting, today’s updated guidance from Governor Pritzker will aid the Board’s decision-making.
     “We have asked Deputy Governor Ruiz and Dr. Ezike to engage with us in the near future, so that we can collaborate on developing a plan to safely conduct IHSA sports and activities as soon as possible. IHSA schools have been exemplary in adhering to state regulations throughout this pandemic and we hope that non-school programs will hold themselves to the same standard as we all put the long-term health and safety of our fellow citizens ahead of short-term athletic competition.”
From my kitchen where I prepare my weekly healthy servings of Irish Stew, it’s looking like there won’t be a prep sports season of any kind this calendar school year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The only thing that will change my pessimistic outlook to positive and bright and cheerful is for the vaccines to arrive in late December and early January so the Governor can lift the mitigations that he announced earlier in the day (Tuesday).
     Return to the Decatur Tribune website and Mac on Sports for the latest and best prep coverage. I will have more on this developing story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.

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