Pritzker, IHSA Leaves Sports Up to Local Districts As COVID Concerns Mount

By Benjamin Cox on September 2, 2021 at 9:19pm

Governor J.B. Pritzker says he’s leaving the call of sports up to local school districts. Currently, the IHSA doesn’t have a uniform policy on quarantine and suspension of play when it comes to current sports seasons. According to IHSA Assistant Executive Director Matt Troha, there is no specific policy for exposure, quarantine time, or return to play timeline for high school athletes in Illinois and the decision relies on local county health departments for decisions.

Pritzker says that everyone is trying to work together in a tough time and would not say if he or the Illinois Department of Public Health will intervene to give Illinois schools guidance at this time during a press conference this morning: “We have tried hard to have uniform policies and also leave some decision-making here to local school districts. And so, I know it’s challenging. Listen, I know it’s challenging leading at the top of state government. It’s challenging when you’re a state representative and a state senator, and a superintendent… so we are all working together, and certainly as we go, trying to figure what adjustments might need to be made.”

Currently, the Illinois Department of Public Health says that 26 schools have reported outbreaks of COVID-19 around the state. Locally, the North Mac School District was sued by parents due to it’s quarantine policies that limited 6 members of the local football team from playing against Riverton last week after team members received negative rapid tests in Springfield.

Judge April Troemper ruled in Macoupin County Court on Wednesday against the school district’s quarantine policy. Goble moved North Mac High School a day after a student walk-out occurred over the quarantine policies, citing 30% of the high school’s population was to be under quarantine for close contact with a positive case. Goble sent out a message to parents today saying that only 8 students from the high school will be in quarantine to start next week, down from the current number of 114. Goble said as long as there were no drastic changes, the high school would go back to in person learning on Tuesday, September 7th. Troemper is slated to rule on Goble moving the high school to remote learning on Friday.

The events at North Mac also comes a day after PORTA High School has forfeited a second straight week of football due to COVID concerns. Urbana High School has also cancelled the remainder of its football season. Decatur-MacArthur announced it would be shutting down its football program for the next two weeks due to COVID late this afternoon.

Pritzker says that after the last few days, new COVID metrics are encouraging, but he is continuing to monitor to see if additional school guidance needs to take place.