December 6, 2021 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

SJO awaits guidance from IHSA

St. Joseph-Ogden High School is anticipating getting additional guidance from the IHSA today regarding the start of high school sports in Illinois.

“We went from zero to 100 in a hurry,” said Superintendent Brian Brooks. “We don’t have all the details yet.”

Brooks said one logical hurdle he sees is that every sport, besides cross country, would have to be offered by the end of June.

Athletic Director Justin Franzen said the district has not started working on schedules because they don’t know when the IHSA will allow sports to be played.

“We have really been trying to wait patiently throughout this whole process,” Franzen said.

Franzen said he hopes all of the remaining sports can be played.

“It is important to advocate for all of our sports and activities at all times,” he said. “For our seniors, I am so excited for them to have
a chance to put on their Spartan uniforms one last time in every sport. Once we know what all of the seasons will now look like from the IHSA, we
will be ready to make whatever adjustments we need to make.”

Franzen and Brooks said the students are very excited by the possibility of playing.

“Our kids have been patient for so long, and we cannot wait to watch them play,” Franzen said.

Brooks said the Illini Prairie Conference will meet on Friday to discuss scheduling and other policy.

So far, the conference has agreed that only home spectators will be allowed at events.

The current guidance allows up to 50 spectators at events. However, they have to be 30 feet from athletes. Brooks said that poses problems for events in the SJO gym.

“We could be looking at people just in the balcony and they have to be six feet apart,” he said.

Brooks also said that it is possible that the Champaign County Public Health District could say spectators are not allowed at events.

“Things can change in a moment.” he said. “There are a lot of things in the air, they are good problems to have. It is neat to see the kids excited about having stuff to do.”

Brooks stressed that just because sports are being allowed to start it does not mean COVID-19 is over.

“We have kids out right now with COVID,” he said. “If someone gets it on a team they will be shut down and if their seasons are short- you do the math. It could go from really really high to really really low very fast.”

The IHSA will release guidance today after 4 p.m.

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