Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference

CIAC Reports Success in Mitigating Spread of COVID-19 Through School Sports

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The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference says efforts it has taken to protect student-athletes from the spread of coronavirus through school sports have been successful.

Local Department of Health contact tracing identified five cases in which a total of seven students contracted the virus through participating in a school sports event. That’s out of more than 28,000 student-athletes who took part in sanctioned events over the fall, according to CIAC.

The estimated transmission rate was .021percent. In contrast, the state of Connecticut’s COVID-19 rate as of Wednesday was 8.55 percent.

The CIAC said in a statement that 133 of CIAC’s 186 member schools responded to its survey to gather data.

“Based on the overall review and analysis of fall 2020 data, the CIAC has concluded that its COVID mitigating strategies were effective in engaging 28,842 CIAC member school student-athletes in education-based interscholastic athletics while minimizing the spread of COVID through its events,” CIAC said in a statement.

Winter school sports are currently suspended until Jan. 19. CIAC made the announcement in November at a time when, according to the state and the governor, there were 17 school closures, 29 COVID-19 outbreaks and 235 teachers who were exposed and subsequently quarantined due to cases connected to private sector and high school sports.

CIAC Executive Director Glenn Lungarini said more data means more confidence in returning to play.

Because of the controlled nature of high school sports -- required rosters from home and away teams, limited spectators -- that allows them to provide clearer information to local departments of health for contact tracing and research, he said. 

"We knew that we had something that was very structured that we thought was very safe, but to see the outcome of that, of how well this actually went this fall, was very encouraging and we look forward to continuing to collect data. I think that's the important thing that we have to remember going forward: we're not out of a COVID environment yet," Lungarini said.

Schools played a combined 8,296 games in fall 2020 and CIAC estimated that 33,184 games and practices were held.

CIAC said several athletic directors, principals, coaches and student-athletes expressed appreciation for a positive experience.

“As we continue to plan for meaningful education-based interscholastic athletic experienced for Connecticut student-athletes, it is important that we reflect on the experiences from the fall 2020 season,” CIAC said in a statement.

Percent of CIAC School Teams With a Positive COVID-19 Case

  • Boys Cross Country: 4.09%
  • Girls Cross Country: 2.94%
  • Field Hockey: 6.33%
  • Boys Soccer: 13.56%
  • Girls Soccer: 10.43%
  • Girls Swimming 2.35%
  • Girls Volleyball: 9.62%
  • Football (low/mod risk): 14.69%

Percent of Teams Required to Quarantine

  • Boys Cross country: 11.11%
  • Girls Cross Country: 10.59%
  • Field Hockey: 18.99%
  • Boys soccer: 22.03%
  • Girls Soccer: 22.09%
  • Girls Swimming: 8.24%
  • Girls Volleyball: 18.59%
  • Football (low/mod risk): 21.68%

Note: In the overwhelming majority of cases, contact tracing identified the source of transmission as outside of the sports event.

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