IHSA March Madness to go on amid coronavirus concerns

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Illinois High School Association (IHSA) leaders are gearing up for two weekends jam-packed with games and fans in the stands.

Although the Illinois Department of Public Health says coronavirus is continuing to spread throughout the state, the IHSA is following their direction and continuing to have the tournament. As of Tuesday, the IDPH says it is safe for the IHSA to continue on with the tournament.

Executive Director Craig Anderson says most coaches haven’t shown much concern, but some schools have.

“One school, Loyola Academy, that had shut down for a couple of days, they’re playing tonight in a Sectional game. We’ve communicated with some schools, Loyal Academy themselves, in addition to teams they might be playing. But we haven’t really heard from any coaches that show any concern,” Anderson said.

Both weekends are held at the Peoria Civic Center. Anderson says his organization is working with the PCC to ensure everything is sanitary for those who are coming to the games.

“We’ve been communicating with the Civic Center and the March Madness Experience going on in conjunction with the games. We’re asking them to have hand sanitizers available in more places than they ordinarily would. Especially in the Experience area where there will be a lot of interactive activities for kids,” Anderson said.

“We are determined to have these tournaments go on back to back weekends and we’re going to run them. The only thing that would cause that to not be the case would be a recommendation for the Illinois Department of Public Health, other local Health Departments, or our Sports Medicine Advisory Committee that would advise us that for whatever reason it appears to be unsafe. The information we have at this time, moving towards this weekend and the following, is that the mass organization of folks is still acceptable and hopefully folks would take precautions on their own,” Anderson said.

Anderson says if you aren’t feeling well, it’s best to just stay home. You can watch the games online or on television. For more information on where you can find the games, you can visit the IHSA’s website here.

The IHSA continues to monitor the recommendations of our Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as it relates to coronavirus (COVID-19). While there have been more but limited incidences of confirmation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Illinois, all groups continue to recommend taking individual precautions that prevent any virus (see below). Our school activities will continue, including the IHSA Boys Basketball State Series competitions. 

IHSA website | Tuesday, March 10
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

To stay up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 information, you can visit the IDPH website here.

The Peoria Civic Center along with ASM Global sent WMBD the following statement.

“At ASM Global we are closely monitoring the latest developments regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) globally and any potential impact it may have on our day-to-day operations here at the Peoria Civic Center. The health and safety of our guests and employees is our top priority. Through public health organizations such as, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) we are staying abreast of the latest updates and developments as they occur. Any actions we take will be consistent with guidelines from these agencies and local health department officials.”

ASM Global/Peoria Civic Center statement

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