The Illinois Elementary School Association announced on Tuesday that all school activities will remain paused because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
IESA executive director Steve Endsley sent an email to member schools Tuesday afternoon notifying them of the decision. Because Gov. JB Pritzker’s office announced the state remains in Tier 3 mitigations, the IESA will keep everything on hold.
The two sports most affected by this are boys basketball, which is slated to start practices on Monday, and girls volleyball, which is scheduled to start on Monday, Jan. 11.
“Boys basketball may not start on that date, and I believe it’s safe to assume that girls volleyball should be paused as well,” Endsley said in the email. “Given Illinois continues to remain in Tier 3 mitigations, this news is not totally unexpected. Yet, it is another setback to the safe return of interscholastic activities for IESA member schools.
“We will no longer establish new season dates for boys basketball and girls volleyball. As we have since mid-July, these sports which are considered medium-risk and high-risk are not going to be allowed to be held until they are most to low-risk and/or Illinois moves into Phase 5 of Restore Illinois. It would be an effort in futility to once again set up arbitrary dates for these sports only to once again be told by the governor’s office and the IDPH that they cannot start on the dates the IESA established.”
Endsley said the IESA will wait for word from the governor’s office that sports can resume, then the IESA board will move forward with a new schedule.
At this point, dates for other activities will remain the same. Girls basketball is scheduled to start on March 5.
“Our hope is that we will still be able to conduct some type of season for all but one of our sports and activities,” Endsley said. “The only activity which has been officially canceled is the chess competition.”