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Winter sports season takes a pause across the state

The high school basketball was suppose to start on Monday. St. Joseph-Ogden, Unity and basketball programs from around the state were suppose to begin team practices to prepare to play competitive games starting on November 30.

Hoping to "flatten the curve" of a surge in COVID-19 cases that started nearly a week ago, Governor JB Pritzker announced yesterday that the state would enter a level three of the state's resurgence mitigation plan on Friday. Some of the restrictions that go into effect that will affect athletics at all levels until the state's positivity numbers regress include:

• Pause all indoor group sporting and recreational activities including youth and adult recreational sports, individual training may remain (with facility reservation)

• This includes park districts and travel leagues play

• Locker rooms should be closed

Under the plan outdoor sports and recreation activities may continue. Groups and practices outdoors is limited to 10 persons or less with social distancing, face coverings required for all activities at all times and locker rooms should be closed to the public.

The pause also applied to high school sports putting basketball, wrestling, dance and competitive cheerleading activities on hold until sometime after the start of the new year or perhaps beyond.

"The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) recognizes that today’s announcement by Governor Pritzker will temporarily pause the IHSA’s winter sports season," said in a statement from IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. "We remain optimistic that these new mitigations, coupled with the emergence of a vaccine, will aid in creating participation opportunities in the New Year for IHSA student-athletes in winter, spring, and summer sports."

Anderson and the IHSA Board of Directors will meet tomorrow, November 19, 2020, to consider how to proceed for the remainder of the academic year. While they won't be at the upcoming meeting, the IHSA extended invitations to to Deputy Governor Jesse Ruiz and Dr. Ngozi Ezike to future meetings with the hope of developing a plans so that high school sports and activities can resume as soon as possible.

"IHSA schools have been exemplary in adhering to state regulations throughout this pandemic," Anderson said. "We hope that non-school programs will hold themselves to the same standard as we all put the long-term health and safety of our fellow citizens ahead of short-term athletic competition."

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