Over 200 Illinois School Districts Send Letter To Governor Pritzker Regarding Winter Sports

The Honorable JB Pritzker

% Office of the Governorpage1image1693712

207 State Housepage1image1694544

Springfield, IL 62706

November 5, 2020,


Dear Governor Pritzker,

      First, we want to thank you for the work you are doing as Governor to mitigate the risks of

COVID-19 while keeping our communities, families, and most importantly our students in a

safer environment. The purpose of this letter is to share our experience and perspectives as

educators and leaders tasked with the safety and wellbeing of our students, staff, families and

communities. The educational experiences of our students are most successful and valuable

while interacting in-person with teachers and coaches while participating in extracurricular and

co-curricular activities in our schools. Well rounded and balanced experiences

help our children mature into young men and women. The pandemic has and

continues to impact the social interactions of our students among their peers, adults, and various

situations that help prepare them for what life will bring. Some of the negative effects that we are

seeing as a result of these experiences being limited are depression, anxiety, lack of motivation,

and loss of self. Despite the resilience of children, negative consequences are appearing and we

fear this is the tip of the iceberg as these issues continue to rise.

        The interactions and opportunities provided before, during, and after school hours throughout a

variety of settings shape the lives of our students. Educators have worked relentlessly to reinvent

how we educate our students and provide social interactions over the past six months. However,

extracurricular experiences that include high stress situations, teamwork, dedication and focus

towards a common goal cannot be replicated unless students are given the opportunity to play

and participate. We urge you to consider three factors before delaying or canceling any future

extra-curricular seasons at the high school or junior high/middle school level.


1. School districts have shown that when given the opportunity, we rise to the challenge and

find the delicate balance between health and safety of our school communities while

providing for continuity of learning. Districts this summer created a plan, adhered to

State safety measures, implemented cleaning protocols and made decisions in the best

interest of our students during the COVID-19 pandemic.


2. School districts are creative. We continue to find ways to connect with students, teach

them, and provide opportunities for participation, and to hold special events. Schools

have students learning in remote, blended and in-person environments. We have made

special events such as graduations, parking lot proms, drive through celebrations, senior

recognitions and much more happen safely. Parents have become our partners in even

deeper and more meaningful ways.


3. In most instances, positive cases found in schools come from outside of the school. We

take the safety of our students seriously. When it comes to athletics, schools will provide

a safer environment with procedures and accountability with more fidelity than a travel or

club program every single time. Without the opportunities in our schools, students will

play for unregulated clubs and travel teams while traveling out of state to do so.


We as superintendents are calling on you to allow our students to participate in extracurricular

activities and interscholastic competition. While each scenario is different, schools have shown

that we are adaptable, vigilant, and accountable while keeping the health, safety, and well-being

of our students as the highest priority. It is time to allow superintendents, athletic directors and

coaches the opportunity to partner with IDPH to provide interscholastic competition in a safe

environment. Our students are our top priority and nobody will take better care of them than our

schools and the educators who have dedicated their lives to them. Our students will benefit

immensely from the unrepeatable experiences. The physical, mental and academic well-being of

our students are depending on us. Our students are depending on you.


Below you will find the signatures of school district superintendents throughout the state in

support of this request and the number of students each school district serves. Collectively, we

represent over 200,000 students in grades K-12 throughout the state of Illinois.


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