Fall sports a go for CPS

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - MICHAEL O’BRIEN mo­brien@sun­times.com | @michael­so­brien

Switch to re­mote learn­ing doesn’t af­fect ath­letes

Chicago Pub­lic Schools ath­letes will be al­lowed to par­tic­i­pate in fall sports while re­mote learn­ing.

The news was de­liv­ered to coaches, prin­ci­pals and ath­letic di­rec­tors on Wed­nes­day night, clear­ing up a day full of con­fu­sion after CPS CEO Jan­ice Jack­son said in a news con­fer­ence that fall sports were un­likely.

Mayor Lori Light­foot and Jack­son held a news con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day morn­ing to an­nounce that CPS schools would go to all re­mote learn­ing in the school year’s first quar­ter, which be­gins on Sept. 8.

Fall sports are sched­uled to start al­most a full month ear­lier. The Illi­nois High School As­so­ci­a­tion al­lows prac­tices to be­gin Mon­day. Under the IHSA’s re­vised sports cal­en­dar fall sports in­clude boys and girls golf, girls ten­nis, boys and girls cross-coun­try and girls swim­ming and div­ing.

The IHSA al­lows schools that are learn­ing re­motely to par­tic­i­pate in sports. The fi­nal de­ci­sion rests with each school district.

Early in the news con­fer­ence, Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th) said his chil­dren all play sports and “their sea­sons have been can­celed.”

The IHSA hasn’t can­celed any sports, but it has re­done the sports cal­en­dar hop­ing that ev­ery sport will get at least some sort of sea­son de­spite COVID-19. So that was a bit of a sur­prise.

Later in the news con­fer­ence Jack­son was asked about sports di­rectly.

“I be­lieve our sports pro­grams are no longer prac­tic­ing,” Jack­son said. “I be­lieve it is safe to say that is what the fall is going to look like.”

Many teams have been prac­tic­ing. The IHSA has al­lowed so­cially dis­tanced work­outs for the past month.

“I haven’t re­ceived any no­ti­fi­ca­tion that we needed to stop prac­tic­ing,” Mather cross-coun­try coach Joe Sul­li­van said. “We have been prac­tic­ing since July 14 under the so­cial-dis­tanc­ing guid­ance [CPS] sent out. We take ev­ery kid’s tem­per­a­ture and sub­mit a form for them ev­ery day. The IHSA al­lows 20 con­tact days and to­day was our last day. We met like four days a week. We’ve been fol­low­ing that guid­ance.”

Jack­son men­tioned the IHSA’s re­vised sports cal­en­dar but ended with: “We need de­fin­i­tive guid­ance from [the Illi­nois State Board of Ed­u­ca­tion] on [fall sports].’’

CPS Sports Di­rec­tor David Rosen­gard emailed out the fi­nal ver­dict nine hours later.

“While we con­tinue to mon­i­tor the evolv­ing pub­lic health sit­u­a­tion in co­or­di­na­tion with our pub­lic health part­ners, to­day’s an­nounce­ment re­gard­ing re­mote learn­ing did not im­pact our plans for summer con­di­tion­ing or fall sports,” Rosen­gard wrote. “As we com­mu­ni­cated last week, the district has adopted the IHSA’s mod­i­fied fall sports sched­ule, which in­cludes a re­duced num­ber of non­con­tact sports. Those sports may pro­ceed as sched­uled under the guide­lines and pre­cau­tions we pre­vi­ously re­leased pend­ing any po­ten­tial pub­lic health de­vel­op­ments that re­quire a change in our ap­proach.”

KIRSTEN STICKNEY/SUN-TIMES

Cross-coun­try and other fall sports will pro­ceed in the Pub­lic League.

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