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IHSA moves high-contact fall sports to spring season

"You have to be happy about the fact that kids are gonna be able to compete"

ST. LOUIS — The Illinois High School Association announced this week scheduling changes that will move high-contact fall sports to the spring season to avoid canceling the season in entirety.

Golf, girls’ tennis, cross-county, and swimming will still be held during the fall. Football, soccer, and volleyball will now be played during the spring from Feb.15 through May 1.

Based on a chart released by IHSA, football is considered “high risk” for COVID-19. Soccer and volleyball are considered “medium risk” for contracting the virus.

Edwardsville High School Athletic Director Alex Fox said he and many coaches from Edwardsville are pleased with the board’s decision.

“Two hours before the decision came down, we were thinking there were gonna be no sports,” Fox said. “So from that perspective, you have to be happy about the fact that kids are gonna be able to compete hopefully, and we’ll be able to do some things.”

Many Illinois school districts have voted and approved in-class learning, but will also provide virtual learning options for students who choose to stay home.

Fox said this format will give all students a chance to still participate in school activities, regardless of how they choose to learn during the school year.

“I think the big difference is in Missouri, they’re not allowing remote districts to participate in sports. In Illinois, they are going to allow that. So, that’s kind of a plus for us.”

Mascoutah High School athletic director Scott Bettas said if districts enforce all virtual learning at some point during the school year, then this could potentially change.

The new 2021 schedule will change for many Illinois teams who were scheduled to play Missouri teams in 2020. 

“We are gonna minimize some of the schedules,” Bettas said. “We’re gonna take some games away. So, those will be the first to go. And then we’ll kind of reorganize and see where the Illinois non-conference games fit into the schedule.”

Bettas said athletic directors from each conference will begin meetings next week to plan a 2021 spring schedule. 

Both Bettas and Fox said the situation is very fluid, and could change at any time.

RELATED: IHSA shuffles sports seasons for 2020-2021 school year, football to be played in the spring in Illinois

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