IHSSA 2021 Guidance for Hosting

In-person and/or Virtual District and State Contest


This guidance was created, using the latest public health information provided by the Iowa Department of Health (IDPH), as a resource for coaches and administrators to determine when and how a school may choose to engage running a District or State IHSSA Speech Contest in 2021 while keeping students, coaches, judges, and spectators safe. This guidance is a fluid document that will be updated as more information becomes available from the Governor’s Office, the IDPH, the CDC, and other research studies.  It must be used in conjunction with all proclamations issued by the Governor and guidance provided by the IDPH.  Any local policies established should always be done in compliance with local public health officials and local law enforcement.


Guidance will be posted here and will be updated often. The purpose of this information is to let school personnel know they will be able to host an in-person contest or a virtual contest and will be able to begin making plans for contest.  The following mitigation efforts are strongly encouraged to ensure student, coach, judge and spectator safety.   There will be no District or State contest sites with 20 or more schools as in the past.  We appreciate all schools who participated in the survey to help make this decision for the coming contest season. Please call the IHSSA State Office (515) 401-1834 if you have questions.   PLEASE WATCH FOR UPDATES ON THIS GUIDANCE BEFORE YOUR IN-PERSON or VIRTUAL EVENTS this coming contest season.


There are three options for contest participation.  Contest will be held: 1) in-person at the local school or 2) virtually at the local school or 3) virtually via the IHSSA State Office site. 


Please see the complete guidelines for the contest format selected.


If an in-person contest is held at your local school or with a couple of other schools, no more than 8 (eight) additional schools are allowed. Please review the guidelines provided.


If a virtual contest is held at your local school or with other schools, unlimited number of other schools may participate in the virtual contest format. Please review the guidelines provided.


If your school selects the virtual contest format set up by the IHSSA State Office, please review the guidelines provided.


Each school must ALERT THEIR DISTRICT/STATE CONTEST MANAGER which of the three (3) formats they will be using for each contest. Additionally, each school must also notify their Contest Manager what DATE they will do their performances. Each school is required to register for District and State Contest online with the IHSSA.  NO green or pink cards will be printed this year.


If you are hosting an in-person or virtual contest, you will provide IHSSA certified judge (s) and you will pay for said judge (s) attending your contest.  If you are paying for your own judge (s) your entry fees will be ½ of your normal fee.  If you are not providing your own judge (s) and choose to attend a contest at another site (whether in-person or virtually) you will pay your normal payment for contest. Only 1 judge for District contest including 1-Act play and 3 judges need to be used for state.




District Large Group Contest may be held from January 18th – January 27th

State Large Group Contest may be held from February 1st – February 10th


District Individual Contest may be held from February 22nd – March 3rd

State Individual Contest may be held from March 10th – March 19th


There will be no All-State Festivals this year. All-State nominations will still be announced per performances from the State contests. All-State medals will be awarded, a program will be produced, All-State shirts will be available for purchase, and All-State banners will be for sale for schools who receive All-State nominations.