On August 12, the CIAC (Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference) released guidelines that will allow all high school’s fall sports teams to play a compete regular season, followed by conference and state tournaments.
A year ago, fall sports --- except for football and cheerleading --- were limited to a condensed regular season with a postseason experience that allowed for conference competition. Football and fall’s cheer season was restricted to practice-only with conditioning and non-contact 7-on-7 opportunities.
Fall sports include boys and girls soccer, boys and girls cross country, girls volleyball, girls swimming and diving, football, field hockey, and boys golf – which was previously played in the spring but moved to the fall this year.
Like a season ago, indoor and outdoor sports will have different standards regarding mask wearing. Volleyball will again require masks to be worn during competition. Swimming will not require masks while competing but must be worn outside of competition. All other sports will only require masks to be worn during indoor activities (such as locker rooms, weight rooms, film rooms) but will not be require mask while competing outdoors.
Vaccination status will also determine student’s ability to play or return to play. The CIAC and the Connecticut Depart of Health released a joint statement on July 20, stating, “The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC), and many youth sports organizations in our state are joining together in this message to encourage interscholastic Athletic Directors and other youth athletic team administrators to help all of their athletes 12 years and older stay on the field and in the classroom this fall by helping them get vaccinated.”
“One strategy that is available right now for middle school and high school athletes that will help to ensure that they can have a healthy, safe, and uninterrupted fall sports season is getting vaccinated against COVID19. School Athletic Directors and club sports organizers are also encouraged to work with DPH and/or their local health departments to host and sponsor mobile or other vaccine clinics to get middle and high school students and their eligible family members vaccinated.”
“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 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. One major perk for getting vaccinated: individuals who are vaccinated do not need to quarantine if exposed to a COVID-19 case.”
According to the CIAC guidelines, fully vaccinated students/staff who are in close contact with a known COVID-19 case do not have to quarantine from sports or other activities, provided they remain asymptomatic after close contact with a known COVID-19 case and wear a mask until receiving a negative COVID-19 test or 14 days without a test. Unvaccinated asymptomatic students who are a close contact of a known COVID-19 case will quarantine for 10 days (with a negative test between days 7 and 10) or 14 days without a test. Vaccinated and unvaccinated students who experience COVID-19 symptoms after close contact with a known COVID-19 case will quarantine for 10 days (with a negative test between days 7 and 10) or 14 days without a test.
High school teams will began scrimmaging later this month with regular season schedules slated for early September. As on now, teams have a full slate of regular season games/meets with postseason play/tournaments scheduled to take place in November.
Spectators will be permitted and the CIAC will allow each school district to determine the extent.
The CIAC added that, just like last year, the plan is fluid and they will modify or updated as more data, health metrics, and sport specific information changes or becomes available.
For more information or a complete list of team schedules, visit ciacsports.com
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin