On Friday, the road toward bringing back high school fall sports took another turn. A day after receiving a letter from the Connecticut Department of Public Health, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Board of Control had a meeting and announced that they would be pausing all in-person fall sports activities through Aug. 24. Coaches are allowed to promote virtual contact and conditioning.
“During next week, we will take additional time to review and understand all of the recommendations made by DPH,” said CIAC Executive Director Glenn Lungarini. “We have invited DPH to meet with us next Thursday, along with our medical advisors to insure that we have a full understanding of their recommendations and the COVID metrics and science that led to them.”
On Wednesday, the CIAC Board of Control voted 17-0 to move forward with all of their fall sports, but in the three-page letter addressed to Lungarini, DPH said that sports and extra-curricular activities should be postponed for at least two weeks after the reopening of schools. With proper education, DPH said that it would recommend allowing students to play lower-risk sports like cross country and girls’ swim and dive, as well as soccer classified as a moderate-risk sport.
However, DPH felt that girls’ volleyball and football should be pushed back to the spring of 2021 or canceled. Those sports are listed as moderate and high-risk, respectively.
Lungarini had asked DPH to review their current plan, but the letter wasn’t received in time for Wednesday’s meeting with fall sports committees, medical professionals, and school officials.
“We greatly appreciate our partnership with DPH. The information they have provided us is very detailed,” said Lungarini. “I can’t say a bad thing about the department of public health.”
In response to the DPH letter on Friday, the New Haven Department of Health banned games and practices for moderate and high-risk sports. Bridgeport also canceled football and volleyball in 2020.
In the CIAC plan, the regular season is scheduled to start on Thursday, Sept. 24.
“Obviously, we will go on the guidance we’ve received from the CIAC. The coaches will do whatever they are asked to do, but it is frustrating for the athletes who’ve been training for the season,” said Cheshire High School Athletic Director Steve Trifone. “We are telling everybody that we will hold tight and see what happens.”