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BLOOMINGTON — The IHSA will rely on host venues' pre-established rules when it comes to COVID-19 testing and vaccination status during upcoming state series, the high school sports organization's board of directors announced Monday.

The latest board meeting included discussion about protocols IHSA programs, their fans and others associated with postseason events will need to follow in order to be involved with those events.

Most pertinent with this topic are the boys' and girls' basketball state tournaments, the boys' and girls' individual and boys' dual-team wrestling state tournaments and boys' swimming and diving state tournament.

Boys' individual state wrestling will occur at Champaign's State Farm Center on Feb. 17, 18 and 19. The return of state boys' basketball to Champaign-Urbana for the first time since 1995 will happen at the same facility on March 10, 11 and 12.

Current University of Illinois athletics vaccination policy, which applies to events of more than 200 people at State Farm Center, requires attendees to present proof of vaccination or "a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event start time." That negative test cannot be an at-home test.

The girls' basketball state tournament (March 3-5) will occur at Normal's Redbird Arena. Girls' individual state wrestling and boys' dual-team state wrestling (Feb. 25-26) will transpire at Bloomington's Grossinger Motors Arena. And the boys' swimming and diving state tournament (Feb. 25-26) will happen at Westmont's FMC Natatorium.

"More information will be provided by IHSA staff to participating schools based upon the policies in place at venues as state series tournaments progress," said the board in a statement.

Also on Monday, the board "discussed protocols for replacing teams in the state series who withdraw due to COVID-19 issues after advancing" — such as a basketball team winning a regional championship but then being unable to compete in a sectional semifinal.

"The board has directed the IHSA staff to develop guidelines by sport," the board said in its statement.

Colin Likas is the preps coordinator at The News-Gazette. He can be reached at clikas@news-gazette.com, or on Twitter at @clikasNG.

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Colin Likas covers Illinois football and high school sports at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).

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