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IHSA still waiting on state go-ahead to resume play

While "low-risk" sports may be on the path to returning soon in Illinois, there is still no set date for the return of high school athletics in the state

SPRINGFIELD, Ill — High school sports in Illinois have been on hold since Nov. 20, and the path forward during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic still looks murky.

The Illinois High School Association met on Wednesday to discuss a possible way forward to get kids back to playing during the pandemic.

The IHSA announced that all IHSA sports not operating under an official IHSA season calendar are allowed to conduct contact days as soon as they are allowed by the Illinois Department of Public Health and local school guidance.

The IHSA board also looked at several options for a framework of the sports calendar for the rest of the school year, and planned another board meeting on Jan. 27 to discuss the matter further.

Once the IDPH allows for "low-risk" winter sports like bowling, cheerleading, dance, gymnastics and swimming and diving to begin, teams for those sports will be allowed to start practice immediately and then continue with their season calendar.

“We realize there is a desire for finality on a sports schedule for 2020-21, however, we did not believe it would be prudent to lock ourselves into a schedule at a time when IHSA schools are unable to conduct any sports. Per Governor Pritzker, we have hope that low-risk sports may be permitted in certain regions of the state as early as this Friday (January 15). With that in mind, February seems like a realistic timeline to have sports resume statewide," the board said in a statement. "We expect that the events of the next two weeks will go a long way toward informing our opinion on which scheduling option we decide to proceed with. We recognize that if no sports have resumed by February, season lengths could be impacted in certain sports, and that we may need to take a longer look at the likelihood of true seasons being conducted in high-risk sports this year. Our overall goal remains unchanged, as we hope to conduct all IHSA sports during the remainder of the school year calendar. Please know that we see and read many of the comments and messages from student-athletes, coaches, and parents, and that we are doing everything we can to try and bring IHSA sports back within the current parameters we are working in.”

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