Do Illinois Student Athletes Still Have To Wear Masks? The IHSA Says ‘Maybe?’
There has been a lot of inked spilled over what was going to happen to mask mandates in Illinois schools when it was announced last Friday and an Illinois judge decided that the Governor's mandates could no longer be enforced.
School's still seem to be split in the state. Some area schools completely lifted the mandate, some kept it, while some "highly encouraged" students to wear them but would not enforce it.
A Chicago suburban school made news this morning when Hinsdale students who chose not to wear a mask were sequestered in the school's auditorium.
This isn't the place to debate any of that. I didn't do any studies myself, and good luck wading through all the reports that have obvious bias on both sides of the debate. It's gotten ugly, police are getting involved, and it seems like it's going to get worse before it gets better, but that's the world we live in.
What definitely has not been addressed is how the Illinois High School Sports Association (IHSA) was going to handle it. The IHSA released a statement before going into their monthly meeting that the issue was going to be discussed and they would release their decision afterwards.
Well, they had their meeting on Monday, and while they did decide that football playoffs would no longer be seeded by region but by the whole state, they did not make any definite decisions regarding masks.
They essentially said "We gotta talk to more people," which I'll respect for a few days, this is a decision that you want to get right, but needs to be addressed before we reach the weekend.
I can say that I've heard some local schools are already not making athletes wear masks during competition, and some downstate schools are following the same guidance.
Having no dog in this fight I will say this, I've been covering high school basketball throughout the pandemic and I've seen maybe 4 kids wear their mask properly during a game, the VAST majority simply wear them around their chins. Regardless of what you think about the effectiveness of masks, we can all agree that the current system just doesn't make sense.
Hopefully, the IHSA sees it the same way and will make a prudent decision before anything gets out of hand.
Remember, be good to each other.
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