IHSA contact period allows fall sports to practice

The IHSA has allowed fall teams who aren’t in season 20 contact days to prepare for the spring.

BY DYLAN SMITH, NEWS REPORTER

MACOMB, Ill. (NEWS3) – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many fall athletic teams have had
the season pushed back to the spring of 2021.

The “big three” sports that highlight the delayed season are football, soccer and volleyball. The
Illinois High School Association (IHSA) has allowed teams a maximum of 20 contact days to
practice while still following COVID-19 protocol.

The contact period began Sept. 7 and is scheduled to end Oct. 31. Both soccer and volleyball are
considered medium-risk sports, therefore are allowed to participate in intrasquad scrimmages
while wearing masks. High-risk sports, such as football are not allowed to hold intrasquad
scrimmages, and are allowed only to practice handoff drills, and passing drills, as well as other
drills of the like.

Before the contact period, coaches were not allowed to hold practices, leaving it up to the players
to get in shape. The 20 days allow for traditional practices, giving players much needed
instruction from coaches.

“I mean, it’s really about coaching,” Jose Galvan, Macomb high school soccer coach, said.
“That’s really the biggest difference. Prior to the contact days I didn’t have any contact with the
players at all, and so these give us an opportunity to actually coach things.”

While the contact days are vital for team success, getting in shape under COVID-19 protocol can
also be challenging, especially the requirement to wear masks.

“We understand, and we think that there is a great reason why we’re wearing them,” Galvan
said. “We are all about wearing them in these situations to make sure that everybody’s safe, but
it’s just really difficult to wear them while they're exercising because it just takes so much more
energy.”

If all goes according to plan, and positive COVID-19 cases in high-school sports don’t transpire,
spring ’21 is destined to be a busy one.