Chicago Public Schools

Chicago Public Schools Says No Decision Made on Winter Sports Yet

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No decision has been made yet on whether Chicago Public Schools will allow winter sports to play, the district said Tuesday.

"The district has not yet made any decisions on the possibility of winter sports and continues to plan for a variety of scenarios to ensure we are prepared for all possible outcomes," spokesperson Emily Bolton said in a statement. "Our final decision will be made in accordance with the state guidelines and informed by our close partners at the Chicago Department of Public Health who will determine if it is safe to proceed with winter sports."

Chicago Public Schools officials announce Friday the district plans to keep all students on remote learning to begin the second quarter, with the goal of bringing some students - pre-k and intensive and moderate cluster programs - back into the classrooms in a phased reopening beginning in January.

Illinois and Chicago health officials have remained firm on their guidance surrounding school sports, despite protests and even a class-action lawsuit demanding change.

"There is higher risk of infection transmission associated with high contact sports. That premise has not changed," Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said in a statement late last month. "There are no plans to amend public health related sports guidance and persistent rumors claiming otherwise makes a challenging time more difficult by giving affected student athletes false hope."

In July, the IHSA announced its plan for the 2020-21 school year, moving some fall sports to the spring and allowing others to continue as planned with restrictions.

Cross country, girls golf, girls swimming and girls tennis were deemed "low-risk" and have been allowed to continue. But that's not the case for other sports like volleyball, soccer and football.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office has repeatedly said that no changes will be made to the current plan for high school sports, saying the governor is following science, but some doctors believe there should be more conversation on the matter.

Contact days, which began on Sept. 7 for CPS athletes, end on Oct. 31.

Meanwhile, boys football, boys soccer, and girls volleyball have been moved to compete in the spring of 2021.

Under the fall plan, CPS teams will only compete against other CPS league teams. They also have the option to practice without competing.

CPS said it is "deeply sympathetic to the students [sic] athletes" eager to return to the court or field. The district said it will inform families when a decision is made, though no timeline was given.

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