The IHSA took a major step toward getting back in action Friday when it released its Return to Play Guidelines, developed within the current structure of Gov. JB Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan and approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Schools may begin workouts Saturday but must have permission from their local school district. The school also must be located in a Restore Illinois region that is in Phase 3 or better.
The guidelines were developed by the IHSA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. Athletic directors around the state received emails Friday afternoon informing them what Phase 1 of the guidelines would look like to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I commend the IHSA’s SMAC for crafting a plan that fits within the framework provided by state leadership and refuses to compromise safety,” IHSA executive director Craig Anderson said. “The IHSA Return to Play Guidelines offer some important first steps in allowing student-athletes to reacclimate both physically and mentally to athletics, but more importantly, they allow each school to assess their own individual situation and determine if and when they want to proceed.”
The guidelines ask that athletes maintain social distancing of being 6 feet apart, that they wear masks if social distancing cannot be maintained and that groups remain at 10 or fewer athletes in an area at one time.
The groups are to be predetermined. Interaction between groups should be avoided. Sessions can only include weightlifting, running and exercises to promote physical fitness.
Sport-specific drills are not yet permitted and sport-specific equipment may not be used.
Coaches must maintain a daily record of what athletes are participating and should monitor athletes for temperature or symptoms of the coronavirus. If symptoms are present, those athletes should not participate.
There should not be spotters for weight training. Athletes must bring their own water bottles, towels and other personal equipment. There will be no use of locker rooms, shared water coolers or water fountains during this phase.
If available, an athletic trainer should be available for workouts and should wear masks for any interactions with athletes.