On Wednesday, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced the state’s guidelines for youth and adult recreational sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidelines take effect on August 15.
These guidelines are for, but not limited to, school-based sports, travel clubs, private leagues and clubs, recreational leagues and centers, and park district sports programs.
“I know our hearts break when we hear the word ‘restrictions,’ especially when it comes to our children’s love for their sports. Whether this year is their first time on the court or it’s their senior season – this isn’t the news anyone wants to hear,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “But with rising rates of spread of the virus, with rising positivity rates throughout Illinois and the United States, this is a situation where the toughest choice is also the safest one.”
The new guidelines categorize sports into three risk levels: lower, medium, or higher. The risk levels are based on the amount of contact between athletes and their closeness during play. Higher risk level sports include football and wrestling, while medium includes basketball, and lower includes baseball, softball and tennis.
The guidelines also establish four levels of play based on current public health conditions. The four levels are:
- Level 1: Only no-contact practices and training allowed.
- Level 2: Intra-team scrimmages are allowed with parental consent for minors but no competitive play.
- Level 3: Intra-conference, intra-EMS-region, or intra-league play is allowed and there may be state or league championship games allowed for low risk sports only.
- Level 4: Tournaments, out-of-conference/league play, and out-of-state play are allowed. Championship games are allowed.
Based on the current conditions, lower risk sports can play at levels 1, 2, and 3. Medium risk sports can be played at levels 1 and 2. Higher risk sports can be played at level 1.
The guidelines also address making sure all athletes and coaching staff are healthy before participating, making sure equipment is cleaned between uses or in some cases not shared between participants.
To read the complete guidelines and see where each sport is categorized, visit this website.