ILLINOIS (WAND) – Athletes competing in low-risk outdoor sports are no longer required to wear masks while competing after a ruling from the Illinois High School Association. 

This change impacts the in-season IHSA sports and activities of bass fishing, baseball, softball, tennis and track and field. Students are required to keep wearing masks when not actively competing (i.e. while on the bench). 

Officials in those sports and activities are required to keep wearing masks unless they are socially distanced. The IHSA plans to provide more guidance to coaches and officials about those rules in the coming days. 

Student-athletes in high-risk sports are recommended to have COVID-19 testing. The Illinois Department of Public Health has announced the state will fund optional testing for schools who wish to test high-risk sports teams. Current high-risk sports include football, boys lacrosse and wrestling. 

The IHSA is providing member schools with state testing contacts when that information is available from IDPH.   

The board also approved a recommendation that reduces the IHSA Summer Contact Day period from 25 contact days to 20 contact days. for only the summer of 2021. 

“Given the unusual nature of the school year, the IHSA Board and Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) felt like a modest reduction in contact days would be in the best interest of the student-athletes’ and coaches’ mental, physical, and emotional well-being,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said. “With so many sports seasons being moved to the spring and summer this year, and with several overlapping, SMAC believes it is vital that we attempt to reduce the wear and tear on our athletes to reduce overuse injuries and allow them more time to recover.

“Many coaches have also been forced to coach multiple overlapping sports with no time off, so it is our hope that this contact day reduction will allow them to recharge as well. The Board discussed further limitations suggested by the SMAC, but felt that each school could better assess its own programs and circumstances to determine their summer contact day schedule.”

Click here for more information about decisions made by the IHSA board.