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Sports Safety Guidance

This guidance issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) pertains to all youth recreational sports, including, but not limited to, school-based sports (high school and elementary school), travel clubs, private leagues and clubs, recreational leagues and centers, and park district sports programs. This guidance does NOT pertain to adult recreational sports, professional sports leagues, or college division-level sports. This guidance supersedes all previously announced All Sports Guidance issued from IDPH and/or ISBE.

Executive Order 2022-06 issued on February 28, 2022, ended universal indoor masking requirements, including in schools and in public indoor settings where sports-related activities are held. All individuals may engage in sports-related activities, both indoors and outdoors, without wearing a mask, except where otherwise required by laws, rules, regulations or facility policies, including local business and workplace policies. As always, schools, districts, facility owners and other sports organizers may establish COVID-19 prevention policies that require the use of face coverings during sports-related activities. In addition, we recommend all individuals wear a mask for public indoor activities, including sports, in areas with high COVID-19 community levels and as recommended in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for quarantine and isolation.

Masks remain an important tool to minimize adverse outcomes related to COVID-19. Current CDC information about COVID-19 community levels can help sports organizers choose appropriate prevention strategies. When the COVID-19 community level is high, CDC recommends that all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, wear a well-fitting mask while indoors in public, including in schools. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommends that youth participants who are not up to date with COVID-19 vaccination wear a mask for all indoor sports-related activities regardless of COVID-19 community level (see “When should face masks be worn?”).

Vaccination remains the leading public health prevention strategy against COVID-19. To promote vaccination in school communities, Section 3 of Executive Order 2021-22 regarding vaccination of school personnel remains in effect. Some adults involved with youth sports may be considered “school personnel” who are required under Executive Order 2021-22 to establish they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to at least weekly testing for COVID-19.

Regardless of vaccination or previous infection, all individuals who come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 should wear a well-fitting mask when around others for 10 days, including during sports-related activities, as recommended in CDC guidance for quarantine and isolation. Guidance from ISBE, IDPH, and CDC also recommends testing for COVID-19 five days after exposure if asymptomatic and immediately if symptoms develop, along with isolation.

Review joint ISBE/IDPH guidance for schools for more information on COVID-19 prevention strategies for youth sports.

Updated March 17, 2022