ILLINOIS (WAND) - Illinois high school athletes will now have to go back to a set of rules that closely resembles the initial "Stage 1" guidelines.

The IDPH is walking back a set of rules that it approved last week. In that release, all sports activity including using sport-specific equipment, scrimmaging, competition and all drills were allowed. These rules were in place from Monday through the beginning of today.

In an email today to the state's athletic directors, the IHSA announced the IDPH's modifications. It is essentially a return to "Stage 1" with a few differences. This means no contact, no scrimmaging and no competition.

However, the new "Phase 4" and "Stage 1" plans are not identical though they are similar. Three main net differences exist between the "Stage 1" rules (which were in effect until this past Monday) and the new modified "Phase 4" rules. (The IDPH/IHSA switched the naming system to more closely reflect the state's terminology and calendar.)

Three net differences:

1) Masks must be worn during all indoor activity (but not outdoors)

2) Group size may be up to 50 instead of 10

3) Sport-specific equipment is allowed (provided it's used in a socially-distanced manner)

Similarities to Stage 1 include a ban on any kind of contact, scrimmaging and competition.

For example, a quarterback may do a socially-distanced passing drill with a receiver, but not hand off a ball to a running back. Linemen may not participate in a blocking drill or any other form of contact.

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