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Illinois fall high school sports practices begin amid indoor mask mandate for athletes | St. Louis News Headlines

( – Illinois high schools resumed athletic practices Monday after several schools had to do a shortened or delayed season last year due to COVID-19.

“It’s a really great time for our kids, for our school buildings to come back to life after a tough year last year,” said Belleville Township High School District superintendent Brian Mentzer. 

Pritzker announces Illinois mask mandate in Pre-K-12 schools

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced new mitigations to stop the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant.

This comes less than a week after Illinois governor JB Pritzker mandated all athletes participating in indoor sports wear masks. The mandate means the football team, for example, does not need to wear a mask when practicing outdoors but the volleyball team, which is indoors, will need to wear masks. The challenge, Mentzer said, is keeping up with all the changing mandates.

“I think the demands that are being placed on school districts and school boards and teachers are different than they ever have been. I think the stakes are higher, right? I think we’re talking about health and safety of our students in a different way than we ever have,” said Mentzer.

Mentzer said his district has come up with multiple plans for this upcoming school year, which starts next week for freshmen, and had to change it multiple times to adjust to new recommendations and mandates from the state. 

One of the latest came last week when Pritzker mandated all schools K-12 wear mask regardless of their vaccination status.

“They probably should because it’s starting to get pretty bad right now,” said parent Craig Wuebbels. 

Wuebbels said the issue is convincing kids to keep their masks on.

“To get them to understand and they don’t really want to wear masks so it’s pretty hard,” said Wuebbels. 

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