Low-risk IHSA sports cleared for practices in Northwest Illinois

High School Sports

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — Some High School sports in the Rockford area and in Northwest Illinois which make up Region 1 of Illinois can begin practicing. That’s because Region 1 has been elevated from Tier III designation in the state to the less restrictive Tier II designation due to a drop in the number of COVID-19 cases.

Low-risk sports such as boys and girls bowling, boys swimming and diving, cheerleading, dance and gymnastics can begin practicing immediately as of Friday. Schedules for the start of competition for those sports and possibly others will likely be released following the IHSA’s next board meeting on January 27th. Following is a new release sent out by the IHSA on Friday afternoon with more details.

[IHSA News release] Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced on January 15, 2021, that three regions in the state (1, 2, 5) are being rolled back from Tier 3 mitigations to Tier 2 mitigations.

The announcement allows further participation opportunities for IHSA schools located in Regions that are under Tier 2 mitigations.

Below are the allowances in winter sports for IHSA schools located in Regions under Tier 2 mitigations:

WINTER SPORTS FOR SCHOOLS IN TIER 2 REGIONS
Low-Risk Sports: Can begin practice immediately and will begin competition within their geographic region on a future date to be determined by the IHSA Board.
Medium-Risk Sports: There are currently no winter sports categorized as medium-risk.
High-Risk Sports: Team training with no physical contact may begin immediately.

Spring and Summer sports for schools located in regions under Tier 2 mitigations may begin to conduct contact days on Monday, January 25, 2021. All contact days must be conducted under the rules of the IDPH All Sports Policy based on their risk level.

Weight training may be conducted in regions under Tier 2 mitigations as along as social distancing and masks are utilized.

All IHSA athletic activities remain on pause for schools that are located in Regions that remain under Tier 3 or Tier 4 mitigations.

The IHSA’s low-risk winter sports include Badminton, Boys Swimming & Diving, Cheerleading, Dance, Boys & Girls Bowling, and Girls Gymnastics.

There are no medium-risk IHSA sports in the winter, while boys & girls basketball are the lone high-risk winter sports.

“This is certainly positive news for three regions of the state, but we still have a long way to go until we get all of our student-athletes back to being active,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “High school student-athletes are hurting from a mental, physical, and emotional standpoint, so we hope this is the first step toward getting that back to some normalcy.”

IDPH data on each Region and its current Tier mitigation status can be reviewed by clicking here.
The IHSA Board of Directors met on Wednesday (January 13) and are scheduled to meet again on January 27. Anderson said that he anticipates the Board will set competition start dates for low-risk winter sports prior to the January 27 meeting.

“We all need to continue to take the mitigations seriously,” said Anderson. “Wear a mask. Socially distance. We need to get these other regions to Tier 2 and cannot risk having others backslide.”

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