CPS teams waiting to see if they can take part in Stage 1 of IHSA’s return-to-play plan

Chicago Public Schools athletic directors received an email on Sunday that said teams are not allowed to begin workouts.

SHARE CPS teams waiting to see if they can take part in Stage 1 of IHSA’s return-to-play plan
Raby’s Trayshawn Toliver side steps in practice at Garfield Park in 2018.

Raby’s Trayshawn Toliver side steps in practice at Garfield Park in 2018.

Sun-Times file photo

Chicago Public Schools athletes are still waiting to see when they can begin summer workouts.

The Illinois High School Association’s return-to-play plan allowed schools around the state to open for voluntary strength and conditioning on June 6. The move was reliant on approval from the local school districts.

Athletic directors in CPS received an email on Sunday that made it seem as if the district would not allow schools to participate in the the IHSA’s first stage of return-to-play.

“Until further notice coaches must not conduct, organize, or mandate practice or conditioning activities with students,” the email read. “Students can be encouraged to work out individually on their own. We understand that this gives a slight advantage to non district schools and we are mindful to attempt to keep the playing field as level as possible within our circumstances.”

Monday afternoon CPS officials said that the email that was sent out isn’t the district’s official position.

“The district has not yet released official guidance regarding return to play for sports but in light of new guidelines from IHSA, we are working diligently to develop guidance and protocols to ensure our students can safely begin training,” said CPS spokesperson Emily Bolton.

Raby football coach Eric Harris began preparing for the workouts over the weekend.

“We were really looking forward to starting up this week,” Harris said. “I even met with our principal to set things up and make sure we were doing things right.”

Phillips football coach Troy McAllister says that CPS is probably destined to lag behind the rest of the state due to practicalities.

“It’s a major concern that CPS will be behind in everything but it’s not a blame game,” McAllister said. “With the size and increased risk here we will always be a little bit behind. This city is going to be the last to open up.”

Stage 1 of the IHSA’s plan mandates that temperatures be monitored at the start of the workouts and recommended that trainers be onsite.

“Those things are difficult for CPS to set up,” McAllister said. “It is such a big district. Who is going to provide temperature testing? Smaller districts can get that done immediately and funding is probably better for the athletic departments.”

McAllister said he has a remote workout plan in place for his team that they can follow individually.

“You just hope they are following the plan,” McAllister said. “In reality this is just conditioning we are missing out on now. It isn’t part of the summer contact days. Hopefully CPS is taking its time to make sure everything is safe for the students and will have a plan in place soon.”

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