IHSA rolls out Stage 2 Return to Play Plan, pending IDPH approval
The IHSA released on Wednesday its draft of the Stage 2 guidelines for restarting high school athletics in Illinois.
The Stage 2 guidelines, which have been submitted to the Illinois Department of Public Health for approval, correspond with Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan that's slated to take effect on June 26 if the parameters for the COVID-19 pandemic are met.
Stage 1 of the guidelines took effect on June 5 following IDPH approval and allows for basic conditioning in groups of 10 or fewer.
The Stage 2 guidelines still require screening of athletes, social distancing and cleaning of equipment, but they also allow for indoor or outdoor gatherings of 50 or fewer players, coaches and officials with a minimum of 30 feet required between each gathering.
A major change with Stage 2 is the allowance of athletic contests and practices. Sports equipment like baseball bats and batting helmets should be cleaned after each use. Equipment such as football helmets and pads should be used by one person and not shared. Shared equipment like baseballs and footballs must be cleaned frequently.
No handshakes, high-fives, etc. are allowed, and no spitting. Designated spectator areas -- separate from the competition gatherings -- should be limited to 20 percent capacity, and spectators are encouraged to bring their own seating.
A slate of 20 summer contact days between coaches and players begins with the start of Phase 4 of Restore Illinois and should include proper acclimatization. Students are limited to five hours of participation per day.