September 4, 2020
As you are likely aware, the IHSA has provided the opportunity for the Golf, Tennis, and Cross Country seasons to be completed during this fall sports season. At Montini, those sports have been underway since just before the start of the school year.
The IHSA has also provided the opportunity for all other sports to conduct 20 contact days (practices and conditioning sessions) between September 7 and October 31. These contact days are similar to the off-season conditioning days successfully held this summer. We recognize that athletics is an important experience for many students, but it does also provide an additional opportunity for the virus to spread. The purpose of this letter is to provide you the information necessary for your family to decide whether your student(s) should participate in these opportunities.
Level of Risk
The IHSA has created three levels of risk for the various sports. The level of risk indicates the likelihood of virus spread during the event and also dictates the type of activity allowed during the event to minimize that risk. The IHSA, ISBE, and IDPH believe that by following established guidelines, participation in these activities can be done safely. More details from the IHSA on the types of activities allowed is available here.
- Low Risk:
Baseball, Sideline Cheer, Sideline Dance, Softball
- Medium Risk:
Basketball, Soccer, Volleyball,
- High Risk:
Football, Wrestling, Lacrosse (for these sports, we will only be allowing the activities equivalent to those permitted in the medium risk group)
As always, we will follow the guidance of health experts when conducting athletic activities. The following precautions will be in place:
- All students will be temperature checked and symptom screened when they arrive at the activity.
- Students will remain masked at all times when indoors. They will remain masked outside except when socially distanced.
- Hand sanitizer will be provided and frequent use encouraged.
- Students will bring their own water bottles and sharing will be prohibited.
- Some student athletes will be provided a locker to change clothes on days when their cohort has in-person learning. Access to the locker room will be just long enough for students to change, will be supervised, and lockers will be spaced as much as possible. The locker room will be regularly sanitized as well.
- Extensive protocols are in place to safely utilize the services of our Athletic Trainer.
Based on our experience this week and as we anticipated, there will be cases of the virus in our school community. As was the case this summer, coaches will maintain detailed records of which students participate in practices and the activities during those practices. This information will assist us in conducting contact tracing when new cases arise. Please be advised that in the event there’s a positive case of the virus with a student participating in one of these athletic events, there is a greater likelihood that other participants would need to quarantine for 14 days due to possible exposure. In some cases, the entire group of participants may be required to quarantine, particularly when students have been engaged in intra-squad scrimmages in medium risk sports where six foot social distancing is not feasible.
All participants will be required to sign a waiver acknowledging the risk of participation and acceptance and adherence to the virus mitigation protocols. Those students in medium risk sports planning to participate in intra-squad scrimmages will also be required to submit a separate waiver. The form(s) should be completed and signed before your first contact day. Forms can be returned to each individual coach.
Distance Learning Day Participation
Students engaged in distance learning are welcome to come to campus to participate in the athletic event. When they do so, they should proceed directly to their coach so they can be temperature checked and symptom screened. They should also arrive at the activity ready to participate and will not have access to locker rooms to change.
Deciding if Your Student Should Participate
We recognize that deciding whether your student should participate is not an easy decision. There is added risk, but athletic pursuits also provide an important outlet for students. Please know that these athletic activities are completely voluntary. Students should not feel pressured to participate as attendance will not impact participation in the sport during its season.
Should you have additional questions, please contact me.