IHSA

IHSA, IDPH Guidelines Established for 2021 Sports Seasons

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With most of Illinois dialing back coronavirus restrictions, the Illinois High School Association has released its 2021 sports schedule, along with the guidelines that it will follow in an effort to keep athletes, coaches, officials and spectators safe during competition.

The schedule was released Wednesday, along with specific guidelines on the risk level of each sport, and how the IHSA will react to movement in terms of coronavirus restrictions in each of Illinois' health care regions.

As a reminder, the Illinois Department of Public Health has established these four levels of competition for use in indoor and outdoor sports:

Level 1No-contact practices, and trainings only
Level 2Intra-team scrimmages allowed, with parental consent for minors; no competitive play
Level 3Intra-conference or Intra-EMS-region or intra-league play/meets only; state- or league-championship game/meet allowed for low-risk sports only
Level 4Tournaments, out-of-conference/league play, out-of-state play allowed; championship games allowed

Here are the new IHSA guidelines on sports this season, divided up by risk category:

Lower-Risk:

Sports Included – Badminton, Baseball, Bowling, Cheerleading, Dance, Gymnastics, Softball, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track and Field  

If a school’s region is in Tier 3 mitigations, all indoor sporting activities are paused. Outdoor sports may continue at Level 1.

If a school’s region is in Tier 2 mitigations, all sports in this risk category will be placed in Level 3 restrictions, allowing competitions to either begin or resume.

If a school’s region is in Tier 1 or Phase 4 mitigations, all sports in this risk category will be placed in Level 4 restrictions.

Moderate-Risk:

Sports Included – Soccer, Volleyball, Water Polo

If a school’s region is in Tier 3 mitigations, all indoor sporting activities are paused. Outdoor sports may continue at Level 1.

If a school’s region is in Tier 2 mitigations, all sports in this risk category will be placed in Level 2 restrictions.

If a school’s region is in Tier 1 mitigations, all sports in this risk category will be placed in Level 3 restrictions, allowing competition to resume or continue.

If a school’s region is in Phase 4 mitigations, all outdoor sports in this risk category will be placed in Level 4 restrictions, while indoor sports will remain in Level 3 restrictions.

Higher-Risk:

Sports Included – Basketball, Lacrosse, Football, Wrestling

If a school’s region is in Tier 3 mitigations, all indoor sporting activities are paused. Outdoor sports may continue at Level 1.

If a school’s region is in Tier 2 mitigations, all sports in this risk category will be placed in Level 1 restrictions.

If a school’s region is in Tier 1 mitigations, all sports in this risk category will be placed in Level 2 restrictions.

If a school’s region is in Phase 4 mitigations, all sports in this risk category will be placed in Level 3 restrictions, and competition can begin or resume.

Other Notes:

-All athletes in indoor sports, with the exception of swimming and diving and gymnastics, will be required to wear masks during competition. All athletes not participating in events, along with all coaches and officials, will also be required to wear masks at all times.

Athletes in outdoor events will be required to wear masks when social distancing is not possible, including in dugouts and on benches and sidelines.

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