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J. Thomas McNamara


     The (Illinois High School Association) Board has no expectation to begin any winter sports seasons until 2021, but will remain agile in their preparation and willingness to adapt should a window present itself sooner.
    That was the last sentence in the IHSA release this afternoon (Wednesday, Dec. 2nd), of Executive Director’s Craig Anderson’s statement following the board’s virtual meeting.
    Given Governor Pritzker’s current mitigations, the Board has no expectation of starting low risk winter sports prior to January.  The Board and IHSA staff will continue to monitor the Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigation in effect currently.  When there is a timeline for the state to emerge from these restrictions, the Board is prepared to restart lower risk winter sports quickly.  In addition, the Board hopes to reestablish contact days in January for any winter sports that cannot begin, as well as spring and summer sports.  The introduction of the contact days will be based on mitigations from the Governor and the Illinois Department of Public Health at that time.  Further guidance on contact days limits will be established at a future Board meeting.
    The Board reiterated that they remain committed to creating as much opportunity as possible for all sports that remain to be played this school year.  They intend to evaluate the equity of each season as a potential resumption date in January begins to materialize. The Board appreciates the flexibility displayed by our schools throughout the pandemic, and although they recognize the challenges each modification creates, they continue to ask that schools be adaptable in the New Year.  The Board continues to evaluate season start and ending dates depending on when the winter season resumes.
The Board is scheduled to meet again on Dec. 14 at their regularly scheduled December board meeting.  The Board will be discussing sports/activities state series, possible adjustments to IHSA By-law 3.022 and 4.022 for semester academic eligibility and the latest information regarding Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigation limits.   

    The Board and staff have received questions from schools regarding the interpretation of the Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigations and the application in use of the weight room and open gyms before and after school. The Board believes that local schools and their districts may interpret the application of this and whether or not their facilities are made available to community members in their district according to the guidance for public health and fitness centers.
Given its status as a low risk sport, the Board also discussed the possibility of moving the girls badminton season from the spring to the winter.  Schools should begin preparing for this possibility as action on this could be decided at the Dec. 14, 2020 Board of Directors meeting.
I will have more on this developing story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.

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