ILLINOIS (WAND) – The Illinois High School Association on Thursday announced all high school winter sports and activities are paused due to the new set of COVID-19 mitigations that go into effect Friday. 

In a statement, IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said the organization's board of directors decided to temporarily freeze sports activities due to rising COVID-19 cases that have been reported throughout the state. 

"We support (Gov. J.B. Pritzker's) mitigations and believe it is imperative for everyone in the state to do their part in following them so that we can return to high school sports participation as soon as possible," Anderson said. 

The IHSA board will revisit the status of winter sports during an update discussion on Dec. 2, and if necessary, the issue will be discussed again during the board's regular meeting on Dec. 14.

The following clarifications and guidelines were provided to IHSA member schools by the board: 

Winter Season Start Date: Given the timing of the Governor’s new mitigations, November 16 will not be recognized as the start date of the winter season, regardless of whether winter sport teams conducted any official tryouts or practices. A new start date will be established for each sport once winter sports can be conducted again.

Conditioning & Weight Training: Conditioning and weight training before and after school are paused. Local schools will decide if conditioning and weight training programs that are a part of their academic curriculums continue or are ceased.

Open Gyms: Are paused and cannot be conducted at this time.

Outdoor Workouts: Outdoor workouts may be conducted in any sport in groups of 10 or less with masks and social distancing. Coaches are counted toward the 10. Use of sport-specific equipment is allowable with proper sanitizing practices.

One-on-One Skill Work: Per Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigations and with school approval, one-on-one skill work between a coach and student-athlete is permitted for winter sports only, but is limited to one coach and one student-athlete per facility.

Activities: Practices and competitions may only be conducted virtually. 

Non-School Participation: All sports organizations in the state, school or non-school, have been directed to abide by the Governor’s mitigations. IHSA coaches cannot organize non-school participation in any fashion. IHSA by-law 3.100 will be in effect once winter sport seasons begin following this pause. 

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