An item in the news over the past two weeks has involved the Illinois High School Association’s (IHSA) conflict with Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) guidelines that limits student-athletes practice and open gyms to non-contact individual skill activities. Due to Phase 4, Tier 1 mitigation, student-athletes are not allowed to scrimmage or collaboratively practice. These mitigation guidelines have a direct effect on boys and girls basketball practices set to begin next week.
This week an IHSA survey revealed that 55% of Illinois high schools have chosen to not participate in the start of the upcoming basketball seasons. Forty percent are undecided and only 5% are choosing to play. Obviously with these current numbers, there is no way to move forward with a basketball season.
Yesterday IDPH came out with the recommendation “urging residents to stay at home and leave only for essential activities”.
As neighboring schools begin choosing remote instruction only, along with the concern of the increasing pandemic numbers, Mt. Pulaski CUSD 23 is suspending all extra-curricular activities until further guidance is provided by IDPH. This includes high school and junior high boys’ and girls’ basketball, junior high volleyball, cheerleading and all other activities that fall outside of our in-person school hours.
Our district has created a plan for our students to attend school that has weathered the pandemic storm. We are not naïve to think we are immune to the effects of the pandemic, but we also want to mitigate non-essential factors that could lead to loss of in-person learning. We feel very fortunate to be in a situation that allows us to instruct our students in-person and we will continue to do so until we are not allowed or it is no longer safe.
I sound like a broken record, but please know the district is grateful for your support and efforts to help keep our students, staff and community safe. As more guidance is available, Mt. Pulaski Schools will continue to share information so all stakeholders remain informed.
Fred Lamkey, Mount Pulaski Superintendent