High school athletes at Chicago Public Schools will start their winter sports practices, including those for girls and boys' basketball, on Thursday under new guidelines issued by the district.
In a letter sent out to schools, CPS Executive Director of Sports Administration David Rosengard said that students will be allowed to begin practicing for competitions on Thursday.
Athletes in bowling, boys’ swimming and diving, competitive cheer, dance, basketball and badminton will be allowed to begin practices Thursday, with competitions allowed to begin the following week.
Under IHSA rules, competitions can begin seven days after schools begin to practice.
“As we did for our comprehensive health and safety plan for reopening schools, the district is working closely with our public health officials to ensure sports can be offered safely,” Rosengard said in the letter.
Under the state of Illinois’ health guidance for sports, high-risk sports, including basketball, can only take place if a school’s region is in Phase 4 coronavirus mitigations. Chicago, along with the rest of Illinois, is currently in Phase 4, with metrics improving, including in positivity rates and in hospitalizations.
In lower-risk sports, including badminton, bowling, cheerleading, dance and swimming and diving, a school can continue competitions so long as it is in Tier 2 mitigations or better. If a school is in Tier 1 or Phase 4 mitigations, then tournaments and out-of-conference play will be allowed.
It is not clear if CPS schools will participate in any out-of-league competitions. An update on the school district’s approach to athletics is expected later this week.