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High School Sports

IHSA: Up to 50 participants, limited spectators for games when Illinois reaches Phase 4

Daryl Quitalig - For Shaw Media
Prairie Ridge fans watch on as Prairie Ridge huddles together after an IHSA Class 6A football playoff game at Gately Stadium, Chicago, Ill., Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. The Wolves lost, 24-19.
Daryl Quitalig - For Shaw Media Prairie Ridge fans watch on as Prairie Ridge huddles together after an IHSA Class 6A football playoff game at Gately Stadium, Chicago, Ill., Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. The Wolves lost, 24-19.

Contests with up to 50 participants and limited spectators can begin when Illinois enters Phase 4 of its Restore Illinois plan, according to a draft sent by the IHSA to member schools on Wednesday.

The draft still needs approval by the Illinois Department of Public Health before it could take effect, tentatively on June 26.

In a list of best practices for entering the IHSA's Stage 2, the IHSA said group sizes for contests should be limited to 50 total participants, which includes players, coaches, and referees. If schools choose to permit fans, there should be a designated area with existing seating capped at 20% of capacity.

All of the Stage 2 guidelines take effect when Illinois reaches Phase 4. All four of the state's designated health care regions are on track to reach Phase 4 on June 26.

Multiple groups of 50 or fewer participants are permitted in a facility as long as social distancing is allowed for the participants, 30 feet of distancing is maintained between groups, and areas for each group are clearly marked to discouraged interaction between groups outside of gameplay.

The document also details on workouts, including that schools must maintain a daily record of what athletes are participating, and symptoms they present. Athletes should be subjected to temperature checks and screening questions before the start of practices. Any person with symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test should not participate at all, the document says.

Practices can accommodate up to 50 individuals whether indoors or outdoors, with 30 feet of space between groups of 50. When students are not participating in a drill, normal social distancing should be observed.

If locker rooms are a necessity, 6 feet of social distance should be maintained. Students should be encouraged to shower and wash workout clothing immediately upon return home.

Cleaning schedules before and after each use by a group of athletes should be created an implemented for all athletic facilities. Prior to use, hard surfaces within that facility should be wiped down and sanitized. This includes weight room equipment, training rooms and locker rooms.

Hand sanitizer should be plentiful and made available to everybody, and weight equipment should be wiped down after each individual use. Spotters, which were not allowed in Stage 1, will be allowed in State 2.

When Stage 2 is entered on June 26 - or whenever the state enters Phase 4 - coaches are encouraged to use a staged approach to build back up a full summer of contact activity and competitions. Students are limited to five hours of participation each day.

There should be no sharing of towels, clothing or shoes. Shared equipment, such as bats and helmets should be wiped down between each use. Balls, thud pads and other such equipment should be wiped down as frequently as possible.

All students should bring their own water bottles. Hydration stations may be used only to fill water bottles and must be cleaned out after every practice.

If contests are held, handshakes, high fives, fist bumps, hugs, and other such things cannot occur pre or post-match.

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