The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors has approved Return to Play Guidelines developed within the current structure of Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan that provide the first step in IHSA student-athletes returning to participation.
The Return to Play Guidelines were developed by the IHSA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) and have been approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).
Stage one of the Return to Play Guidelines are aimed at student-athlete acclimatization and general physical fitness, and will not include any skill of sport training elements.
Students are limited to three hours of participation per day and the requirements in stage one include:
• Maintain social distance by being six feet apart.
• Masks shall be worn when social distance cannot be maintained.
• Follow gathering guidelines of pre-determined groups of 10 or less including the coach and medical personnel.
• Once groups are determined, students may not switch from one group to another based upon sport. Students who participate in multiple sports for the year are encouraged to be grouped, for summer participation, in their fall sport.
• Interaction between groups shall be avoided.
• Sessions can only include weightlifting, running, and exercises designed to promote physical fitness.
• Sport-specific drills are not permitted, and sport-specific equipment may not be used.
• Implement diligent and effective cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched objects and surfaces following the guidance of the CDC and IDPH.
• Coaches must maintain a daily record of what athletes are participating, when, symptoms they may present. Athletes should be monitored at start of practice for temperature or symptoms of COVID-19. If symptoms are present they should not participate in practice and should be referred to a physician for evaluation and testing.
• Free weight exercises that require a spotter cannot be conducted while honoring social distancing norms. Safety measures in all forms must be strictly enforced in the weight room.
• Players shall bring their own water bottle, shoes, towels and other personal equipment. The use of locker rooms, shared water coolers with cups and water fountains will be prohibited during this stage.
The IHSA has also prohibited any school sponsored camps, clinics and open gyms for any sport at this time.
“We will continue to seek input from our Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, while following guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health, on what potentially happens next in late June,” said Anderson.