With all the focus on what COVID-19 restrictions are being put into place by professional sports teams, the efforts by local schools and the IHSA to make fall sports possible may be overlooked.

But they shouldn't be. High school athletics in Illinois may not have millions of dollars to use to implement COVID-19 mitigation strategies, but they've got the same goal; to offer fall sports while keeping safe participants and those who come to cheer them on. It's no small task.

On Tuesday, NIC-10 President and Hononegah Principal Chad Dougherty sent out a news release detailing the NIC-10's plans:

To ensure the health and wellness of student athletes, coaches, and officials at NIC-10 athletic contests this fall, the NIC-10 Principals and Athletic Directors require spectators to follow IHSA guidelines while spectating at Golf, and Tennis events. Spectators may be permitted at cross country events if approved by host school or venue. Spectators are not permitted at Swimming & Diving events due to capacity limits at facilities across the NIC-10.

Chad's release also included the IHSA guidelines.

IHSA General Requirements and Considerations for Golf, Tennis, and Cross Country
at approved venues:

● All IHSA Return to Play Phase 4 Guidelines must be adhered to.
● Social distancing between individuals of at least 6 feet must be maintained at all
times. Handshakes, fist bumps, hugging, etc. are not permissible.
● Event Capacity – Student participants, coaches, timers, and paid/volunteer meet
officials are restricted to a combined total of 50 (spectators are not included in
participant count).
● Spectators are permitted at events as long as they maintain social distancing
throughout the event as outlined in the IHSA Return to Play Phase 4 Guidelines .
● Spectators are encouraged to bring their own chairs from home for outdoor
activities.
● Depending on the venue, spectators may be assigned to specific viewing areas
● Spectators must wear face coverings at all times.

The Executive Director of the IHSA, Craig Anderson, joined the WROK Morning Show a few weeks back to discuss the enormous task of trying to get Illinois' high school athletes back on the field/court/pool/course while continuing to deal with this COVID-19 mess. He pointed out how chaotic it was going to be for athletic directors throughout the state to put together a plan for fall sports while maintaining the guidelines set forth by health experts and state government.

Knowing that everyone could get on the same page for high school sports only to have to pull the plug because of a COVID-19 spike adds additional stress for not only the athletes, but their families and those who love to come out and support high school athletics.