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Monday’s Illinois High School Association board of directors virtual meeting approved updates to the IHSA Return To Activities guidelines and provided guidance on the IHSA’s independent team participation rule for the 2020-21 school year.

The board updated its Return To Activities guidelines by waiving the 2020-21 season limitations for winter, spring and summer sports that would have limited those sports to no more than two games per week. This will result in winter, spring and summer seasons being reverted to their normal season game limitations as dictated by IHSA by-laws. In addition, there have been no changes to the tournament limitations.

“We have preached that this school year will be fluid, and the changes made by the Board today are a good example of that,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said in a news release. “When the IHSA’s initial Return To Activities guidelines were established, the limitation of two contests per week felt like a constraint that would help limit exposure.

“However, given how well our state is handling the pandemic, and the lack of setbacks in the fall sports we have conducted so far, there was a consensus that we could move forward with allowing schools to schedule winter, spring, and summer sports without further restrictions.”

Additionally, the IHSA’s summer season will begin earlier than previously expected. With Monday’s changes, summer sports (baseball, softball, track & field, girls soccer, lacrosse, boys tennis, boys volleyball) will be able to begin two weeks earlier with practices starting April 19 and games May 3.

“We understood that when the modified schedule for 2020-21 was released that the summer sport season coaches would take some umbrage with it,” Anderson said. “However, we also knew that summer was the season that we had the most time and flexibility to work with, so we preached patience.

“We are glad to be able to provide some relief by creating the option to start two weeks earlier.”

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