CHICAGO (CBS) — A day after Chicago Public Schools announced it is going all remote, there are more questions than answers about what is ahead for students and their families, including fall sports. The season is supposed to start Monday, and schools across the state don’t know what to expect.
With much fanfare last week, we learned that while football, soccer and volleyball are moving to the spring, a handful of fall sports will see action. However, it’s inaction by the Illinois Department of Public Health that has coaches in four sports not sure what to tell their athletes.
Cross country runners know a thing or two about endurance, and this year they will really need it on and off the course. They are one of four sports given the green light to start Monday.
In last Wednesday’s announcement of shifting and shrinking sports seasons, the IHSA guidelines included a line that may have been missed: “The plan has been sent to the Illinois Department of Public Health for final approval.”
Eight days later and with just four day until seasons start, that approval still hasn’t come.
At Crete-Monee High School in Will County, they considered pulling fall sports, only to back off. Athletes and parents need to sign informed consent agreements that say “I know and understand and acknowledge that my child knows and understands the risks involved” … “I release and hold harmless Crete-Monee Community Unit School District…”
The full court press of liability may be what is holding up the state’s top doctors from signing off. Two days after the IHSA announcement, health leaders across 11 counties “saw outbreaks associated with … big sports events including soccer, golf and softball tournaments.”
They may be the sports with the least risk, but they are canaries in the sports coal mine. There are boatloads of questions and new costs. Transporting kids in smaller groups means more vans and buses, which cost money. And events may take longer with fewer kids in the pool at any given time.
CBS 2 reached out to the IDPH and IHSA on when a green or red light may come down on all of this, but they had not yet responded as of 5 p.m. Thursday.