CIAC Approves Mitigating Strategies for Winter Sports, Practices Still Scheduled to Start on Jan. 19
The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) held a Board of Control meeting last week and, although no final decisions on a potential winter season were made, the tentative plan to begin with practices on Tuesday, Jan. 19 remains in place.
On Jan. 7, the CIAC held its first Board of Control meeting of 2021 and then announced that it had approved “mitigating strategies” for all of its winter sports. The CIAC said in a press release that it would share its COVID-19 mitigating strategies with its member schools throughout the subsequent days.
The approval of the initial mitigating protocols for winter sports followed the CIAC’s meeting to discuss recent communications with the Connecticut Department of Health (DPH) and appraise the current level of in-person learning around the state. The CIAC Board of Control is scheduled to meet again on Thursday, Jan 14 and anticipates reviewing updated guidance from the DPH and the Governor’s Office at that time.
Back on Nov. 5, 2020, the CIAC announced that it was indefinitely postponing the start of the winter season, which had been scheduled to start on Dec. 7. On Nov. 17, the CIAC announced that it was moving back the first date of practices for a winter season to Jan. 19, 2021. With teams required to participate in a minimum of 10 practices prior to gameplay, the earliest that the regular season could begin would be the first week of February, essentially necessitating a shorter-than-normal campaign.
The sports that are played during the high school winter season include boys’ and girls’ basketball, boys’ and girls’ ice hockey, wrestling, boys’ and girls’ indoor track, boys’ swimming and diving, gymnastics, cheerleading, dance, skiing, and boys’ and girls’ fencing. Wrestling, competitive cheerleading, and competitive dance are considered high-risk sports by the state DPH in terms of COVID transmission. Basketball, gymnastics, ice hockey, relays in swimming, and the pole vault, high jump, and long jump in track are considered moderate-risk. Skiing, sideline cheerleading, individual events in swimming, and throwing and running events in track are considered low-risk.
It’s been 10 months since the COVID-19 pandemic caused an abrupt cancellation of the 2019-’20 winter season during the middle of the state tournaments. The entire 2020 spring season was later canceled due to the pandemic.
With various protocols in place, the 2020 fall season was held from October through early November. The season was played without 11-on-11 tackle football, and there no were state tournaments or state championships for the sports that did play. However, several conferences the state hosted modified versions of their annual postseason tournaments and championship meets. Numerous teams in the state had games either canceled or postponed because of positive COVID cases in their respective high schools, and some had to bow out of their conference tournaments as a result.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to persist around the globe, the nation, and in the state. As of press time, there were 205,994 people in Connecticut who have been diagnosed with COVID, including 6,324 fatalities. Connecticut is 34th in the United States in the amount of total cases and 18th in total deaths.
From the period of Jan. 4 to 8, 15,874 people in Connecticut diagnosed with COVID-19. This marked a decrease of the 17,377 people in the state who were diagnosed with COVID from Dec. 28, 2020 to Jan. 2, 2021, although it was still the fourth-highest amount for any week since the beginning of the pandemic.