WRMJ Audio: Gov. Pritzker Announces Safety Guidelines for Youth & Adult Recreational Sports; Decision Impacts IHSA

Audio from Governor J.B. Pritzker’s press conference Wednesday.

Governor JB Pritzker announced today guidance for youth and adult recreational sports, including, but not limited to, school-based sports, travel clubs, private leagues and clubs, recreational leagues and centers, and park district sports programs. Collegiate sports and professional leagues are not impacted by these restrictions. The guidance was developed by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) following consultation with a number of stakeholders including the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and the Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA). The complete guidelines are available online at the state COVID-19 website: https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/.

 

The newly released guidance categorizes sports into three risk levels, lower, medium, or higher, based on the amount of contact between athletes and their proximity during play. The guidance sets four levels of play allowed based on current public health conditions. In level 1, only no-contact practices and training are allowed. In level 2, intra-team scrimmages are allowed with parental consent for minors but there can be no competitive play. In level 3 intra-conference, intra-EMS-region or intra-league play is allowed and there may be state- or league-championship games allowed for low-risk sports only. In level 4, tournaments, out-of-conference/league play, and out-of-state play are allowed. Championship games would also be allowed in level 4.

This guidance takes effect Saturday, August 15th. Based on current conditions, lower risk sports can be played at levels 1, 2, and 3. Medium risk sports can be played at levels 1 and 2, and higher risk sports can be played at level 1.

 

Similar to other guidance, sports organizations should make temperature checks available and participants and coaches should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and should not participate if they are experiencing illness.  If multiple individuals have symptoms or test positive, coaches or organizations should alert the local health department.  Sports organizers or coaches also must maintain attendance logs of participants for contact tracing purposes.

Athletic equipment such as bats and hockey sticks should be cleaned between each use.  Other equipment, including personal gear such as hockey, football, lacrosse, or other sports using helmets, pads, or gloves should only be used by one person and not shared.

Illinois first issued guidelines for youth and recreational sports in late May, when every region in the state advanced to Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan, marked by return to work, the reopening of retail as well as the return of specific recreational activities. The latest guidelines make adjustments to temporarily halt competitive play for most higher to medium-risk sports pending further health progress, as well as to provide additional clarity on capacity limits and high school sports.