CIAC Postpones Start of Winter Sports Until January 19

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Earlier this month, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference postponed the start of winter sports after the state laid out new rules in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and now the start date has been postponed again as cases in the state continue to rise.

On Tuesday, the CIAC Board of Control announced its decision to postpone the start of winter sports again until early next year.

CIAC officials said all winter sports will be postponed until Jan. 19, 2021 and that's when practices would begin.

The decision comes after several schools have moved back to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic and several of them are planning to return after the new year.

Glenn Lungarini, the executive director, of CIAC, said the board felt this was a decision that gave clear direction and kept the safety of school communities at the forefront.

The first Monday after New Year's Day is Jan. 4 and two weeks is a pretty standard period of time to look at COVID-19 data, which would bring you to Jan. 19 on a school calendar, he said.

The CIAC and DPH met Friday to discuss ways student athletes could play football with mitigation strategies.

"The CIAC Board of Control will continue to collaborate with the DPH, Governor Lamont’s office, and the CSMS Sports Medicine Committee in the weeks leading up to the January 19th start of winter practices," the CIAC said in part in a statement.

"Today’s action supports our member schools while they continue to manage rising COVID numbers within their communities and experience widespread movements to distance learning," they added.

CIAC officials held news conference Tuesday afternoon to discuss their decision on Tuesday afternoon and said more information will be coming on tournament dates.

The governor's chief of staff, the state Department of Health and the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference are meeting this morning to discuss how to safely hold school sports and the meeting is happening this morning after the governor called for the meeting.

Interstate youth hockey competition was previously suspended throughout the seven northeastern states.

The governor's office also implemented restrictions on certain sports earlier this month.

The CIAC has announced plans for a full contact football season in the spring but admits the plans are fluid.

Sports Sector Rules

  • No hosting in CT of competitions or tournaments for high and medium risk sports
  • No CT team to travel to out-of-state games
  • No high-risk sports games for rest of 2020 (K-12)
  • Medium-risk indoor sports must wear a mask, including during competition
  • Limit spectators
  • Facilities and leagues must have protocols for spectators, rosters and safety

The state considers the following high risk:

  • 11-on-11 Football
  • Boxing
  • Boys Lacrosse
  • Competitive Cheer
  • Dance
  • Martial Arts
  • Rugby
  • Wrestling
Six states have joined Connecticut in suspending interstate youth hockey activities through the end of the year.

The state looked to enact these regulations in collaboration with Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the governor said. They do not impact interstate collegiate, professional, or U.S. national team hockey activities, which will remain subject to existing health and safety protocols and restrictions, according to the governors.

COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in Connecticut, forcing officials to re-examine plans and schedules to determine what precautions are necessary for safe play.

The positivity rate came in at 5.4% Monday, with hospitalizations and deaths continuing to rise.

Lungarini said mitigation efforts were effective and 30,000 student athletes were able to have a good experience in the fall.

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