Chicago Public Schools confirmed Monday that it is planning to proceed with the Illinois High School Association’s winter sports start date of Nov. 16.
Public League basketball players and coaches have watched suburban schools and private schools in Chicago hold basketball contact days for several months. CPS has not allowed its football or basketball teams to hold any contact days this fall.
“At this time CPS Sports Administration is proceeding to create guidelines for winter sports including basketball,” CPS Sports Administration Director David Rosengard said in a statement. “We are anticipating receiving additional guidelines from the State of Illinois and the IHSA soon for permission to proceed with a start date of winter sports on November 16. Our CPS winter sports guidelines will need approvals from the City of Chicago Department of Public Health and our CPS Office of Student Health and Welfare. We are optimistic that we can meet the Nov. 16 start date for winter sports once we receive the necessary approvals. All decisions take into consideration the health and welfare of our student athletes, coaches and support staff.”
The lack of contact days and in-person learning had many Public League players and coaches fearing they would remain on the sidelines even if Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health allowed the state to play winter sports.
“Our students that play winter sports are just anxious to get back at it,” Young basketball coach Tyrone Slaughter said. “Our kids have seen the suburban kids and private schools practicing and just want to do that in the best and safest manner if possible.”
Sources that have seen the proposed guidelines for winter sports say there are strict rules for cleaning and time limits that may stretch the resources of even the largest and richest high schools. Clearly those rules would be an even bigger challenge for Public League schools with just one gym.
Slaughter hasn’t seen the guidelines, but is aware of the rules surrounding possible shootouts, which required three hours between games.
“It’s likely going to require a lot of flexibility for everyone,” Slaughter said. “I know that we will all do whatever is required. We know it may mean programs practicing on rotating days. Weekends and early in the morning before remote learning may be a part of it.
“But my biggest hope is just that we can get back. In whatever form that is that can be done safely. Everything is a day to day thing now.”