Sport-specific guidelines for fall sports released by IHSA
The Illinois High School Association Friday released specific guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic for boys and girls cross country, boys and girls golf, girls tennis and girls swimming, all of which are scheduled to begin practicing Monday.
In each of the documents, the IHSA stresses, "The guidelines explained in this document are intended to decrease potential exposure to respiratory droplets and potential for illness through safe practices such as social distancing, proper hygiene, and appropriate protective equipment. This is not an exhaustive list, and school officials may take additional measures based on requirements set forth by their school district and/or local health officials."
The highlights include:
• All competitions are to be held only against schools within a conference or within a COVID region. While that is not stated specifically in the golf document, IHSA associate executive director Kurt Gibson confirmed those restrictions apply to all sports, including golf.
• Face coverings are always required when not engaged in training, competing or other strenuous activity. In golf, however, the document states players are not required to wear face coverings, but may do so, particularly when not able to maintain social distancing. If an individual would like to wear a mask on the playing course or in a meeting, they may do so. There is no prohibition on the color of the mask.
• Social distancing between individuals of at least 6 feet must be maintained at all times. Handshakes, fist bumps, hugging, etc., are not permissible.
• Spectators are permitted at events as long as they maintain social distancing throughout the event as outlined in the IHSA Return to Play Phase 4 Guidelines. In swimming, if meet hosts allow spectators, they must wear facial coverings and maintain 6 feet social distance at all times.
• For transportation to events, schools must consider social distancing requirements when scheduling contests and events for the fall. Social distancing will need to be maintained on buses/vans. Thus, multiple buses/vans and/or parental/guardian transportation could likely be needed.
• In golf, student participants, coaches, and officials are restricted to a combined 50 per wave. A wave is defined as an individual group (golfers, coaches, officials and volunteers). Hosts can have multiple waves at an invitational as long as the waves are spaced out so that they don't intermingle.
Each document also states: Currently, state series events are to be determined in order to ensure that the events can be conducted safely and in accordance with the Governor's Restore Illinois Guidelines. The IHSA will make every effort to conduct some form of state series event and will announce decisions related to this as they become available.
Golf competition can begin Thursday, tennis Aug. 20, and cross country and swimming Aug. 24. The fall season is scheduled to conclude Oct. 24.