High School Sports, Team Quarantine
From the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic the Sangamon County Department of Public Health (SCDPH) has sought to balance a variety of needs when addressing quarantine and mitigation policies. Public health is of course a top priority, but various socio-economic issues are also considered. This is true with sports participation, which is important for so many of our youth. From the public health perspective we know that participating in sports with and against other individuals holds a risk of infection or of transmission to other individuals, which varies depending upon the sports activity. The SCDPH acknowledges though that it is also critical for our youth to return to activities that are vital in their overall development, beyond just their personal health. SCDPH does not want to be an impediment to students desiring to safely participate in all types of extracurricular activities, including sports. SCDPH believes it to be possible to do so with the right precautions. Quarantine policies adopted by the SCDPH, including the type of contact tracing and the length of quarantine, follow those issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and mirror those of other local health departments. Much like earlier mitigation guidelines were designed around the highest priority of preserving hospital capacity, sports guidelines are designed to safeguard the highest priority of allowing students to return to and stay in the classroom. Current health guidelines are designed to allow and encourage outside activities while also minimizing classroom disruption. With spring outdoor sports set to resume, IDPH is revisiting their guidelines and it is believed that changes will be forthcoming. SCDPH will watch closely for those new guidelines and welcomes any changes that will continue to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for students to participate in extracurricular activities. It is our hope that these new guidelines will continue on a path back to normalcy, where sports and other activities are enjoyed as before. While this is important for all of us, it is especially important for our youth.