The Illinois Elementary School Association issued a release Thursday, indicating that its board of directors met remotely Wednesday “to discuss the possibility/practicality of holding IESA activities in the 2020-21 school year” but is still awaiting a response from the governor’s office and the Illinois Department of Public Health [IDPH] before finalizing its plans.
“The IESA has sent several emails to the Governor’s Office and Illinois Department of Public Health seeking guidance regarding interscholastic activity participation and health and safety requirements,” Thursday afternoon’s release said. “The answers that we receive from these agencies will have a significant impact on the type of activity and/or format of the activity that we are able to offer during this school year. To date, we have not received answers to our inquiries.”
The IESA also confirmed that Illinois High School Association [IHSA] Executive Director Craig Anderson was on the call Wednesday. The IHSA earlier this week stated its intention to defer its decisions on athletics in the upcoming school year to state agencies including the IDPH.
In the fall, the IESA contests junior-high golf, softball, baseball, cross country and girls basketball.
The organization went on to state its member schools can expect a decision by July 24.
“Our goal is to return to play but as an education-based organization, we must always take into account the health, safety, and well-being of students,” read the statement. “Because of the ever-changing landscape, the IESA Board simply felt that until we receive answers, it would not be prudent at this time to make a decision to cancel fall activities knowing that a decision like that is devastating to the very students and schools IESA serves.
“An update on the status of fall activities will be sent to the membership no later than July 24.”
It was also revealed in the IESA’s memo to member schools that:
• The IESA intends to sponsor sports which can be contested within current COVID-prevention guidelines, even if others cannot be held due to those guidelines, specifically mentioning it plans to proceed with its state golf series.
• Softball and baseball — with practices scheduled to begin July 27 and August 3, respectively — could see the starts of their seasons delayed if doing so could salvage parts of their seasons.
• If activities are held, the eligibility of student-athletes whose families choose remote learning when in-person learning is also available will be determined by the school district, not the IESA.
• The IESA plans to suspend or cancel all activities should the state government move entirely to remote learning during any point of the coming school year.
Source: The Daily Chronicle