BLOOMINGTON (WSIL/IHSA Media Relations) — Illinois Governor JB Pritzker addressed the state on Friday, and essentially gave the green light for all sports in our region.

This announcement created a huge development regarding the future of high school athletics in Illinois.

RELATED: IDPH: Regions in Phase 4 can start intra-conference play of high school sports

The IHSA responded to the announcement with a summary of their own. IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson attempted to answer all questions.

“The most significant update today involves high-risk sports in Regions that have improved from Tier 1 to Phase 4. Schools within a Phase 4 Region can now conduct intra-conference and intra-region contests in high-risk sports,” Anderson said. “Moderate-risk sports competing outdoors in Phase 4 also received expanded scheduling opportunities, including tournaments and out-of-state contests.”

The next step will be for the IHSA to set season dates for the remainder of the school year. The IHSA will address it when they meet again Wednesday, January 27.  

All low-risk winter sports must conduct practices seven days prior to their first contest. Basketball teams must conduct 12 days of practice prior to their first contest. Fall, spring, and summer sports can begin contact days on Monday, January 25 based on the allowances of each EMS Region and local school district approval. 

Masks must be worn in practice and competition.  Social distancing should be adhered to for bench players and game personnel.  Schools must follow the mitigations and guidelines established by the IHSA.

With contests now on the horizon, a reminder of IDPH’s guidance for spectators at contests. There is no differentiation in the numbers below regardless of whether the sport is indoors or outdoors. The numbers below do not include players, coaches, officials and other necessary game personnel, the spectators are in addition to them.

-Phase 4 Regions: Maximum of 50 spectators.

-Tier 1 Regions: Maximum of 25 spectators.

-Tier 2 Regions: No spectators allowed

Host schools may choose to be more restrictive in their spectator policies.