(6-3-20) Two Stateline states are headed in different directions to reopening high school sports in their states after the pandemic had brought both to a halt — Michigan and Illinois.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association based on Governor Whitmer’s ending of the “Safer-at-Home” order on June 1, the MHSAA is providing the following updated guidance regarding summer sports activity.
Here are the key points of emphasis in this communication:
1.Member schools may begin summer activities at school facilities as long as BOTH the school/school district has declared school facilities open to students/staff AND the academic school year (last day of online instruction/exams) has ended. Under current orders, only OUTDOOR school facilities may be used if both conditions above have been met.
2.Given the Governor’s June 1 order allowing OUTDOOR groups of 100 or fewer with physical distancing, this has moved all OUTDOOR activity to a “Modified Step 2” in the “MHSAA/NFHS Re-Opening of School Sports”guidance documentfrom May 29. This is modifiedbecause competition may not start yet due to the physical distancing requirement of six feet. Only outdoor workouts and practices are allowed at this time following thephysical distance guidanceand outdoor limits of 100 or fewer if school district facilities are open (see #1 above). Unless proper cleaning and physical distancing is practiced, the use of restrooms and other indoor facilities including training roomsshould be avoided.
3.The following four-page document has been modified from the originalguidance document as it addresses current conditions as defined by the June 1 Executive Order. It is anticipated that the controlling factor in progressing between the Steps is the number of people allowed in groups as set by the Governor, thus the current allowed outdoor activity is a modification of Step 2. When indoor facilities open in the future, and if the limit of 10 persons exists, that indoor activity would start with Step 1. The MHSAA will continue to communicate on the progression of steps based on future government direction.
4.All MHSAA out-of-season summer coaching regulations continue to apply (e.g. voluntary, not part of team selection, etc.).As further government actionimpacts summer athletic activity, the MHSAA will continue to provide updates in this format with effective dates listed with each change or addition to allowed activities
COMPLETE – Guideline Update #1
MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl
“We were excited and encouraged by Governor Whitmer’s announcements Monday, The opportunity for outside gatherings of up to 100 allowed us to rework a number of guidelines that we had published Friday as part of the MHSAA/NFHS reopening document. Our schools have been cautiously eager to take this long-awaited first step. We will continue to provide updates in accordance with the Governor’s directives for reopening the state, always prioritizing safety for all involved in school sports programs.”
The Illinois High School Athletic Association (IHSA) is currently in holding pattern and is waiting for a final go-ahead and approval from the Illinois Department of Public Health on their guidline plan.
“I recognize that IHSA schools, students, and coaches are anxious for the IHSA Return To Play Guidelines to be released. In many ways, they represent the first step in a return to normalcy as we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The IHSA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee was diligent in their development of these guidelines, and we have worked in good faith with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to make sure our plan optimizes safety for high school students in Illinois. IDPH approval is vital in this process, and we understand and respect that they have pressing statewide issues to resolve that take precedence. Quarantine has been a test of patience, and now we ask our IHSA community for just a bit more of it as we collaborate with IDPH to finalize these Return To Play Guidelines. We understand that the return of athletics is important to our high school students from a physical, mental, and emotional perspective, but we also recognize that we must be in full accord with IDPH to maximize safety and help avoid any setbacks in reuniting our students with their coaches.”