On Nov. 29, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) released updated guidelines for the winter high school sports season.
The CIAC collaborated closely with the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) and the Connecticut State Medical Society Sports Medicine Committee (CSMS) to develop a revised set of guidelines, which includes permitting vaccinated student-athletes to participate in all competition without a mask.
In a joint statement, between the CIAC, CT DPH, and the CSMS, the organizations stated, “Vaccination of all eligible athletes, coaches, and officials is currently the most important mitigation strategy we have available for preventing COVID-19 and flu outbreaks on youth sports teams, and in the surrounding communities that support them.”
Additionally, one of the major perks for getting vaccinated is that individuals who are vaccinated and symptom-free do not need to quarantine if exposed to a COVID-19 case.
Vaccinated individuals with symptoms must quarantine for 14 days or a minimum of 10 days with a negative test on the eighth day.
Unvaccinated athletes, with or without symptoms, must quarantine for 14 days or a minimum of 10 days with a negative test on the eighth day.
The new guidelines will go into effect on Dec. 23 when schools are released for winter break.
As of now, all winter sports will play a full schedule, including multi-team events and interstate competition, and culminate in CIAC State Championships.
Basketball, ice hockey, indoor track, and cheerleading/dance will not require masks for fully vaccinated participants when competing, but masks must be worn in all other settings (practice, sidelines, bench, locker rooms, etc.). Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated participants must wear a mask at all times.
For wrestling, swimming/diving, and gymnastics, masks should not be worn during competition, but must be worn in all other settings, regardless of vaccination status.
During the 2020-2021 winter sports season, all student-athletes were required to wear masks in-and-out of competition. Each sport had an abbreviated schedule with limited postseason play and state tournaments were not held. Wrestling was considered a high-risk/close contact sport and was limited to practice/conditioning only.
The CIAC added that, until the winter break, schools should use the existing fall guidelines in place, which includes masking indoors. After Dec. 23, schools can implement the new masking guidelines at their discretion.
Schools can also continue to determine the spectator/fan attendance policy on a case-by-case basis.
Currently, all winter sports have begun try-outs/practicing and games are slated to begin on Dec. 13.
As they have done since modified guidelines were introduced, the CIAC emphasized that “the current plan is fluid and in a perpetual state of evaluation.”
For more information see the CICA’s full guidelines at ciacsports.com
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin