The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference has released its COVID-19 guidance for fall sports this year.
All fall sports will have a season this year, including football, with some protocols in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
While not required to play a sport, the CIAC and the Connecticut Department of Public Health are urging parents to have all athletes aged 12 and over get vaccinated against COVID-19.
"Vaccination of all eligible athletes, coaches, and officials is currently the most important mitigation strategy we have available for preventing COVID-19 outbreaks on youth sports teams, and in the surrounding communities that support them," the CIAC said. "The more athletes, coaches, officials, and supporting family members who are vaccinated, the more likely interscholastic and other youth sports teams will be able to avoid repeated quarantines and testing of participants, to keep practicing and playing throughout the scheduled season, and to get back to a 'new normal' for youth sports in our state."
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There will be mask requirements for student-athletes, but those requirements will vary by sport.
Because the sport is played indoors, athletes, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear masks for all activities, including active competition, practice, and all events around active play. If any activities are held outdoors, masks can be removed.
Students athletes will be required to wear masks for all activities around competition and practice, regardless of vaccination status. They will not have to wear masks in the water. Masks will not be required for any outdoor training activities.
Football, Soccer, Field Hockey, Cross Country
Whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, student-athletes will not have to wear masks during outdoor competition, practice, and other activities. Everyone will be required to wear masks when indoors (locker rooms, indoor practice, classroom team/film sessions, weight room, etc.)
Sideline/Exhibition Cheerleading and Dance
Outdoors, masks are not required while actively cheering, dancing, or stunting during halftime performances. Masks are not required while cheerleading on the sideline. Everyone will be required to wear masks indoors, however, masks may be removed when performing stunts and then put back on after the stunt sequence is completed.
Volleyball and swim officials will be required to wear masks indoors. Officials for football, soccer, field hockey, and cross country will not have to wear masks during those outdoor competitions.
Contact Tracing and Quarantine
Students and staff who are fully vaccinated and who are a close contact with a known COVID-19 case will not have to quarantine from sports or other activities, as long as they remain symptom-free. Those vaccinated students and staff who are a close contact with a known case can fully participate provided they wear a mask until receiving a negative COVID test (taken between 3 and 5 days from the date of contact), or if they choose not to be tested, they can participate with a mask for 14 days.
Students and staff who are not vaccinated and are a close contact with a known COVID-19 case and are asymptomatic will have to quarantine for 10 days (with a negative COVID test between days 7 and 10) or a full 14 days without a test.
Vaccinated or unvaccinated students who experience COVID-19 symptoms after a close contact will be required to quarantine for 10 days (with a negative COVID test between days 7 and 10) or a full 14 days without a test.