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Announcement Concerning the Resumption of Sports/Activities

January 13, 2021

Here is another announcement concerning the resumption of sports/activities for IESA member schools. Please be sure this is shared with all members of your administrative staff, coaches, A.D, and parents.

Many of you are aware that Governor Pritzker made an announcement on Wednesday, January 6 that regions of the state that meet the criteria to move to Tier 2 mitigations would be allowed to do so. Since that announcement, we have fielded numerous calls and emails as to how that will impact practices and contests being played. The answer, unfortunately, is the same answer I have given countless times since this pandemic began 10 months ago---I do not know. I am sorry to be so vague but I will quote for you the responses I received from the Governor's Office when I asked if regions that move to Tier 2 will be able to resume practice and play games. Here are the responses I received today:

"Just heard from IDPH, and as of now there are no decisions on any regions that may be eligible to move to Tier 2. Thus, we’ll have to revisit this once any region is in that position."

I sent a reply asking for clarification. This is the response I received when I asked for clarification:

"We are still in Tier 3, and when it is determined a region, or regions, can move to Tier 2, we will let you know and address how that impacts sports guidance. Thanks for your patience."

So, as you can see, I have no answer to the question if you can start practice and play games if your region moves to Tier 2. This is becoming increasingly more frustrating each day. Schools need to plan; IESA knows that. All I can tell you is that once we are told how Tier 2 mitigations impact interscholastic activities, you will be notified immediately. For now, we are still in Tier 3 and sports remain paused.

I can tell you that once (or should I say if) we move to Tier 2 mitigations, the IESA Board will meet so we can give you more direction. As you know, boys basketball has been paused since January 4 and girls volleyball has been paused since January 11. Boys basketball games were supposed to start this coming Saturday, January 16. Obviously, that will not happen. Girls volleyball matches were supposed to start January 23. Likely, that will not happen on that date. Remember, as of today, even if we were in Tier 2 mitigations neither basketball or volleyball would be allowed to play contests as those have been deemed high risk and medium risk respectively. In accordance with the All Sports Policy, contests are not allowed for medium and high risk sports. It is possible that new guidelines will be distributed and sports could be moved from one category to another. Or, it is possible that what is allowed in each category changes. At this point in time anything is possible. I am not happy to have to say this to you but we simply must continue to wait until we receive final notification from IDPH. But, I can assure you that once we are notified the IESA Board will meet immediately to make decisions moving forward. We have a regularly scheduled IESA Board of Directors meeting on January 29 but I anticipate a special meeting before then if we receive some information regarding Tier 2 mitigations and the resumption of activities. If we do not receive anything before January 29, then we will be making decisions at that meeting. Please know, if we have not started any activities by January 29, it is very possible we could be looking at cancelling some sport seasons. There simply is not going to be enough time in the calendar to get every IESA sport played keeping in mind that the IHSA will be looking to play many of their sports at the same time. There will come a point in time that there is simply not enough calendar, not enough officials, not enough facilities, and students will not be able to do all the sports in a three month window. These are real issues facing everyone. The "new" girls basketball season, the track and field season, and the "new" wrestling season remain unchanged as of now. All of that could change as the result of our January 29 Board meeting.

We have received many questions about Scholastic Bowl. There has been no decision made regarding the conduct of the IESA state scholastic bowl series. Schools may certainly hold matches starting January 25. You may hold them virtually or with the approval of your local board of education and your opponent’s local board, you could hold them in person following all safety protocols. I realize that is unlikely but the point is you can certainly conduct regular season scholastic bowl matches.

No decisions have been made regarding the conduct of the bowling state series or the cheerleading competition. The cold hard reality is IESA is in a serious financial situation. We literally have no income. Any activity that costs the Association money without the opportunity to recoup some of the expense by charging admission to attend the event will be a challenge to conduct. We simply are not in a position to lose money. These are the type of decisions that the Board of Directors will be making when we meet January 29.

The Go Fund Me campaign is on-going. I would encourage you to share the link to make a donation www.iesa.org to everyone associated with IESA in your school and community. To date, we have been fortunate to receive just about $29,000 from the online campaign and direct contributions. Many thanks to those of you who have contributed and/or shared the link. We certainly welcome any and all support.

Illinois Elementary School Association

The financial impact COVID-19 has had on the IESA is devastating. To help secure the continued operation of the Association, a GoFundMe page has been created.

www.iesa.org

One of these days I hope to write to let you know our sports and activities can resume and we can have fans in attendance at contests. I share your concerns about how this is affecting students. We have to continue working with the Governor’s Office and IDPH. I will be in touch (again) once I know more. Thank you for your continued patience.

Sincerely,

Steve Endsley
Executive Director



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