IESA Headlines

IESA Announcement on Winter Activities

To All IESA Member Schools:

The announcement yesterday by the Governor and the Illinois Department of Public Health that moved the sport of basketball into the Higher Risk category of the All Sports Policy was not the news that we expected. We had hoped that schools in the state (both high school and jr. high/middle school) would be given the green light to continue practicing and begin playing games. Basketball being moved into the Higher Risk category is indeed disappointing news.

Earlier today, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) held a special meeting of their Board of Directors. During their meeting, the IHSA Board voted to allow high schools to move forward with basketball practice starting November 16 and games to begin November 30. While it is a local decision as to whether a high school will move forward with their basketball season, the IHSA Board believes the guidelines they have in place allow basketball to be played in a safe manner. The Board strongly believes that high school students need to participate in education-based activities for their mental and physical well-being and that the IDPH totally disregarded the information that was presented to them by the IHSA as they made their decision to move basketball to the Higher Risk level.

How does this impact IESA member schools? In some ways, it does not impact us too much. In other ways, it does have an impact. IESA boys basketball games are not scheduled to begin until January 16. The Higher Risk designation by the IDPH in place today may not be in place in January. Only time will tell. Girls basketball games are not scheduled to start until March 20.

Where the IDPH announcement does immediately affect us is with the contact days IESA schools can have with students beginning November 2. Our contact days run from November 2-December 18. With basketball having been moved into Higher Risk, contact days for your basketball players may only be held at Level 1 which does not allow for physical contact in practice. It allows for training only. Now, we have the IHSA announcement where the IHSA is telling their schools to start practice on November 16. Does this mean that IESA schools should hold their contact days for basketball as a medium risk sport and conduct them under the Level 2 guidance? At this point, I believe the safest course of action for the IESA membership is to follow the guidelines of the IDPH. The IESA Board of Directors will need to meet and review all that has transpired in the past two days. I simply believe that until that meeting happens, the IESA membership should follow IDPH guidelines.

Girls volleyball contact days can proceed under Level 2 given that volleyball is categorized as medium risk. We still do not know yet about the status of matches. which are set to begin January 23.

Boys wrestling will not be held beginning in January. However, the IESA Board will consider moving the season to hopefully offer a wrestling season in the 2020-21 school year.

It is the intent of the IESA Board of Directors to meet very soon to discuss what has transpired and make decisions that are in the best interest of the IESA membership. Once they have met and any decisions have been made, I will share all of that with the member schools.


Steve Endsley
Executive Director

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