IHSA Approves Phase 4 of Return to Play Guidelines

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The IHSA (Illinois High School Association) has approved the next phase of its return to play guidelines.

In a statement released on its website, the IHSA’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee has formed guidelines, in conjunction with the Illinois Department for Public Health, for student-athletes and teams to begin team contact workouts and contests beginning on July 5th.

Moving Into Phase 4

Originally considered Phase 2 of the IHSA plan, the newly released guidelines will now be known as Phase 4 to match the Illinois Restore Illinois Guidelines that went into effect on June 26th. Schools in Illinois have been able to conduct outdoor strength and conditioning workouts in groups of 10 or less since June 6th.

IHSA coaches can conduct team activities on 20 contact days between June 30 and August 9.

Safety Precautions

  • Schools must maintain a daily record of what athletes are participating, when, symptoms they may present
  • Athletes should be screened at the start of practice for temperature above 100.4 or symptoms of COVID-19 (fevers, chills, cough, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of taste or smell).
  • Thirty feet of space must be maintained between gatherings of 50 when outdoors. Indoors limits of 50 individuals is the maximum no matter the spacing.
  • Any person with symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test, should not participate in practice, competition, or conditioning and should be referred to a physician for evaluation and only return after clearance to do so from a physician.
  • Athletic equipment such as bats and batting helmets should be cleaned between each use. Other equipment, such as catchers gear, hockey helmets/pads, wrestling ear guards, football helmets/other pads, lacrosse helmets/pads/gloves/eyewear should be worn by only one individual and not shared.
  • Shared equipment such as athletic balls, thud pads, sleds should be cleaned frequently during practice and competitions

PPE Safety

  • Coaches/volunteers must wear a mask.
  • Officials must wear a mask except when ACTIVELY exercising as part of their officiating duties and use an electronic whistle. Mouth whistles and blow horns are not allowed for safety.
  • Participants should be encouraged to wear a mask if feasible for the sport.

Summer Contest Safety

  • Group sizes should be limited to 50 total participants, coaches, and referees (i.e. excludes spectators).  Any additional team members can sit on the sidelines 6 feet apart from one another.
  • If a host school allows fans to attend, they will be limited to 20% capacity of their facility or less, based on the policy of the host school.
  • Visual markers shall be displayed at queue points (Check-ins, along sidelines, concessions, bleachers, etc.) to help people maintain social distance.
  • No handshakes, high fives, fist bumps, hugs, etc. can occur pre or post-match.
  • No spitting or blowing of the nose without the use of a tissue is allowed.

The full list of Phase 4 Guidelines can be found in this document.