Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker will not attend an IHSA Board of Directors Meeting on Thursday.
The IHSA had invited Pritzker along with representatives from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Illinois Principals Association, the Illinois Association of School Administrators, the Illinois State Board of Education and from the coalition of nearly 200 school superintendents who contacted the Governor regarding school sports during the 2020-21 school year to its meeting on Thursday where it’s expected that more discussion would be held about the proposed basketball season that officially started on Monday.
Pritzker speaking at his daily COVID-19 pandemic briefing on Monday in Chicago said “there has been a lot of interaction between the IHSA and our staff as well as the IDPH.’’
The Governor added that members of his staff would be made available for consolation.
“We have been pretty clear with where we are with regard to winter sports,’’ said Pritzker, who shifted basketball from a medium risk to a high risk sport in October. “We relied on the best experts that we could come up with a plan for the winter. Since then COVID has gotten a lot worse.’’
A week ago, the IHSA didn’t feel that had been enough interaction between the association, the Governor’s office and the IDPH.
“The Board hopes to create a dialogue and build a more collaborative relationship with all the entities involved with developing sports policy in our state as everyone tries to navigate the myriad of issues caused by the pandemic,’’ said Craig Anderson, Executive Director of the IHSA, in an official release. “The Board’s decision to move forward with the IHSA basketball season was not meant to be adversarial. It was rooted in a desire to receive more direct communication and data from our state partners. They hope all the groups will see the mutual benefit of increased discourse and be represented at the meeting on November 19.’’
Schools that were starting practice on Monday were required to adhere to Level 1 mitigations from the IDPH All Sports Policy meaning that practices could only involve individual drill work and conditioning.
The IHSA Board cited rising COVID-19 cases in the state for this recommendation and the IHSA is hoping to provide more direction on practice and games, which as of right now can start on Nov. 30, following their meeting this Thursday.