National high school sports federation announces guidelines for ‘opening up’ athletics

The Illinois High School Association has traditionally followed NFHS recommendations very closely.

SHARE National high school sports federation announces guidelines for ‘opening up’ athletics
Lincoln-Way East coach Rob Zvonar gets doused after the Griffins beat Warren to win the Class 8A state title in 2019.

Lincoln-Way East coach Rob Zvonar gets doused after the Griffins beat Warren to win the Class 8A state title in 2019.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

The National Federation of State High School Associations has released a set of guidelines for state associations to follow as they consider opening up high school athletics during the coronavirus pandemic.

The guidelines don’t mention any specific timelines, but are very specific about what should happen in each of its three phases. The Illinois High School Association has traditionally followed NFHS recommendations very closely.

The NFHS guidelines recommend that “state, local or school district guidelines for cloth face coverings should be strictly followed” and says that cloth face coverings should be worn by students during Phase 1 and Phase 2 of its plan. Exceptions will be made for swimming, distance running and other high intensity aerobic activity.

Coaches and officials may wear cloth face coverings at all times during Phases 1 through 3.

Here’s a quick overview of each phase:

Phase 1

-All coaches and students given a temperature check prior to workout.

-No gathering of more than 10 people at a time. Workouts conducted in “pods” of students with the same 5-10 students always working out together.

-Locker rooms will not be utilized.

-There must be a minimum distance of six feet between each individual at all times.

Phase 2

-Temperature check

-No gathering of more than 10 people at a time inside. Up to 50 individuals may gather outside for workouts.

-Locker rooms may be used if there is a minimum distance of six feet between each individual at all times.

-Workouts conducted in “pods” of students with the same 5-10 students always working out together.

Phase 3

-Gatherings of up to 50 individuals are allowed indoors and outdoors.

-Students and coaches should maintain a minimum distance of three feet when not directly participating in practice or games.

The NFHS breaks sports down into three categories: Higher Risk, Moderate Risk and Lower Risk.

High Risk: Wrestling, football, boys lacrosse, competitive cheer, dance.

Moderate Risk: Basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball, soccer, water polo, gymnastics, field hockey, tennis, relay swimming, some track events, girls lacrosse.

Lower Risk: Individual running events, individual swimming, gold, sideline cheer, cross country running.

The NFHS also outlines three tiers of who should be allowed at events. Only Tier 1 and Tier 2 will be allowed to attend events until state/local health departments lift restrictions on mass gatherings.

Tier 1 (Essential): Athletes, coaches, officials, event staff, medical staff, security

Tier 2 (Preferred): Media

Tier 3 (Non-essential): Spectators and vendors

Read the entire set of guidelines here.

The Latest
The Eastern Conference-leading Union won 4-1, snapping the Fire’s unbeaten streak at five and dropping them three points out of the final playoff spot.
X-rays taken Friday were negative, and Robert’s status remains day-to-day.
Sore legs don’t keep veteran from having impact on basepaths.
The boy was taken to Stroger Hospital in good condition.
Contreras has stayed on the field the last two games against the Reds, despite rolling his ankle in the ‘‘Field of Dreams’’ game.