(7-29-20) The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors are currently meeting (started at 830am this morning) and will have an announcement at around 2pm this afternoon.

Details and statement from IHSA  –

Full Release From Today’s #IHSA Board Meeting

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors met for a special meeting on July 29, 2020, where the Board announced its intended plans for the 2020-21 school year. The plan has been sent to the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) for final approval.

IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson

“This plan, like nearly every aspect of our current lives, remains fluid. Changes may come, and if they do, we will be agile while putting safety and students first. It was important that we provide a framework today for our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and officials to begin preparing for the 2020-21 school year.”

The COVID-19 pandemic led the Board to propose unprecedented scheduling changes for the 2020-21 school year. They include playing all sports over the course of truncated fall, winter, spring, and summer seasons. As a result, several team sports will shift to new seasons, including football, boys soccer, and girls volleyball moving from the fall to the spring.

Anderson said –

“I applaud our Board of Directors for choosing a model that allows every student-athlete the opportunity for a modified season. Based on our recent conversations, it is our expectation that today’s plan meets all of IDPH’s safety guidelines and will be approved.”

IHSA boys and girls golf, girls tennis, cross country and girls swimming & diving will remain as fall sports, and can proceed to start on August 10 as scheduled. Per Governor Pritzker’s announcement on Wednesday, fall sports will begin with competition limited to conference opponents and other schools in the same general geographical area. Schools will be provided more details in the coming week about the scheduling limits, and scheduling will continue to be assessed throughout each season. The condensed 2020-21 season dates will be as follows (see chart below to see where each sport falls):

Fall: August 10 to October 24
Winter: November 16 to February 13
Spring: February 15 to May 1
Summer: May 3 to June 26

Erie High School Principal and IHSA Board President Tim McConnell

“The Board believes this plan offers the most realistic chance for student-athletes to participate in interscholastic sports while balancing the challenges of a new academic setting and IDPH Guidelines. We are an education-based athletic association, and school has to come first. By delaying the majority of the team sports in the fall, it will allow our schools and students the chance to acclimate to what will be, for many, a totally new educational experience. We will do our best to try to give every student-athlete the opportunity for a season this school year.”

State Series tournament decisions will be made on a sport-by-sport basis as each season progresses, but providing postseason opportunities remains a priority of the Board. This could potentially include culminating State Series Tournaments after Regional or Sectional rounds, or seeking other non-traditional means to conduct events.

Anderson added –

“I understand that today’s announcement will be met with mixed emotions, Our staff and Board have heard from thousands of people over the past few weeks with ideas, opinions, and proposals on how we should proceed. We respect and understand their passion, because we share in it. It is a great reminder that if we want high school sports to return to normal, we all need to do our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”

The Board also extended the current Phase 4 Return To Play Guidelines, which will allow sports slated to be played in the winter, spring and summer seasons to allow an additional 20 days of contact for schools between September 7 and October 31 following IDPH Phase 4 Guidelines.

The Board also verified that IHSA by-laws do not prevent schools who are conducting remote learning from participating in IHSA sports and activities. Participation will remain a local school and district decision, regardless of the learning plan a high school is utilizing.

The Board discussed IHSA activities for the 2020-21 school year but did not take any action. The IHSA’s activity offerings include Bass Fishing, Chess, Debate, Drama & Group Interpretation, Individual Events, Journalism, Music & Scholastic Bowl.

Anderson said –

“We believe we can still offer many of our activities via virtual contests. The Board has asked our staff to investigate those possibilities, and we will report back soon on if and how each can be held.”

Further details on items such as sport season and practice limitations will be released to IHSA schools following IDPH approval of the plan.

Three IHSA Board members (Hasson, McMahan, Rogers) were present at the IHSA office for the meeting, while the other eight Board members attended electronically. at the IHSA office for the meeting, while the other eight Board members attended electronically.

Yesterday the IHSA staff met with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

Earlier this week Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said –

“I’ve seen other countries that have opened up schools and without mitigations around sports. And guess what, there’s been an outbreak with kids in sports. So, I am concerned about this.”

He added –

“We do not want kids to catch COVID-19 because of sports, neither do we want adults in those settings. Those are two of the ways we might move to put some mitigations on to lower the exposure people have to COVID-19.’’

Below are the guidelines the State gave to the IHSA to consider for making decisions on moving forward with fall sports, this information was released this morning –

 

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IHSA2 guideIHSA 1 guide

Story will be updated later this afternoon…..

Indiana is on track to start the fall season on its targeted dates –

But not all will be participating…according to an Indy Star story this afternoon

High school football, soccer and volleyball programs in Marion County, which includes Indianapolis, will be shut down for competition through Oct. 1 at the direction of Marion County Health Department director Virginia Caine.

All contact sports are canceled in Marion County until further notice, but several sources confirmed Caine told school officials Wednesday of the plan to push back those “contact” sports more than two months. It is unclear if athletes in those sports will be able to practice before Oct. 1. Non-contact fall sports like girls’ golf, boys tennis and cross-county will be allowed to continue.

This is applicable to all Marion County schools K-12.

 

Michigan

MHSAA Representative Council Approves Phased-In Practice & Competition for Fall Sports

EAST LANSING, Mich. – July 29 – The Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association today approved the next steps in returning sports for member schools, adopting a plan to phase in competition for Fall sports in hopes of continuing to deter the spread of COVID-19.

The Council affirmed that lower-risk sports – Lower Peninsula girls golf, Lower Peninsula boys tennis and Upper Peninsula girls tennis, cross country and Lower Peninsula girls swimming & diving – may begin practice on Aug. 12 and begin competition on their traditional start dates of Aug. 19 and 21.

However, moderate and high-risk sports – football, girls volleyball and boys soccer – may begin practice but not competition. Decisions about competition timelines for these three sports will be made by Aug. 20.

Practice for boys soccer and girls volleyball may begin on Aug. 12. Football will delay the start of practice with full player pads and equipment until Monday, Aug. 17. The week of Aug. 10 may include football practice sessions consisting of conditioning, physical training and skill work with no other player equipment except helmets. This week of acclimatization is similar to allowed summer football activities that have been ongoing for schools since June.

The Council – the MHSAA’s 19-member legislative body – also voted to cancel scrimmages in all Fall sports for this school year and approved limitations on numbers of teams that may compete together at regular-season tournaments, invitationals and other multi-team events. The Council believed eliminating scrimmages emphasized the importance of keeping teams from mixing before the first date of competition, and the regular-season limitations may lessen opportunities for viral spread while still allowing meets to be conducted.

As this remains a fluid situation, the MHSAA would release updated timelines for competition for football, girls volleyball and boys soccer by Aug. 20 dependent on how the spread of the virus is trending statewide. Plans remain reliant on sustained metrics measuring virus spread and/or progression by schools and regions across the state according to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Safe Start Plan. Currently two regions are in Phase 5, which allow for limited indoor activity, while the rest are in Phase 4 and unable to host indoor training, practice or competition.

The start of volleyball and swimming & diving practices are in part contingent on the reopening of indoor facilities. Those sports may begin their practices outdoors if not allowed to be indoors by Aug. 12.

MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said –

“The Council, reflecting on the positive impact on their athletes this summer from taking part in offseason training, feels it’s of utmost importance to continue athletic activity moving forward. If we take a month off, our students will find opportunities to compete through non-school entities that may not be as focused on safety. Our athletic directors and coaches can provide the safest-possible environment to return to sports, and this phased-in approach to competition will help schools continue building on progress already made.

“The Council chose to make these adjustments to help ensure our athletes have a safe regular season this fall. As we continue to solidify the regular season, we can then turn our attention to building a safe postseason for our athletes.”

The MHSAA also has posted sport-by-sport guidance documents outlining increased precautions designed to limit the viral spread, plus a four-page overview with precautions that apply generally for all sports and include coverage of the following topics:

Protocol for reporting COVID-19 infections.
Guidance on face coverings. Athletes participating on the field/court are not required to wear face coverings, but are allowed to do so. However, bench personnel must wear face coverings at all times.
Transportation, use of locker rooms and facility cleaning.

Specific sport guidelines and the overview are available on the respective sport pages of the MHSAA Website, all linked from https://www.mhsaa.com/sports. Recommendations on spectator attendance will follow before the start of competition; spectators will be limited in accordance with Governor Whitmer’s executive orders on large gatherings.

The Council on July 17 approved a return-to-activity plan for the 2020-21 school year retaining the traditional calendar of Fall, Winter and Spring sports, but allowing for the possibility that Fall sports forced to halt activity during the next four months may conclude later in the school year.

Uyl said

“The easy way out would be to postpone all activity to next spring, and we are not taking the easy way out. But we will make wise decisions based on medical guidance. We will make these difficult decisions quickly and appropriately. If we don’t play this fall, it won’t be because we didn’t make every effort to do so.”

The Representative Council is the legislative body of the MHSAA. All but five members are elected by member schools. Four members are appointed by the Council to facilitate representation of females and minorities, and the 19th position is occupied by the Superintendent of Public Instruction or designee.

 

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