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CIAC Says Fall Sports Conditioning Can Resume Monday

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 23, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference issued a statement late Sunday stating that high school teams can resume conditioning activities as of Monday, Aug. 24, but seasons are still in limbo.

By Ronni Newton

The Central Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) said gave permission late Sunday for high schools to be able to resume conditioning for fall sports, which had been paused since Aug. 14, in cohorts of 10 students, as of Monday, Aug. 24.

The decision by the CIAC’s Board of Control was made in “alignment with positive discussions with the Connecticut Department of Public Health,” the organization said. The CIAC and the DPH met for several hours on Thursday.

The CIAC also said Sunday night that “schools may begin non-contact sports specific skill work” on Saturday, Aug. 29, but has not yet issued any further guidance about when – or if – full team activities or contests can begin.

In early August, the CIAC gave schools the green light to plan for seasons in all fall sports, with cohort practices permitted to begin on Aug. 27 for all sports other than football. Football practice in cohorts of 15 was initially permitted to begin Aug. 17. Contests were scheduled to begin on Sept. 24.

In response to that decision, West Hartford Athletic Director Jason Siegal said he was putting all protocols into place, but understood the need to remain flexible and that the plan for fall sports was likely fluid.

Conditioning, in cohorts of 10, has been permitted since July 6, and Conard and Hall teams have been participating.

The day after the CIAC Board of Control officially voted to allow fall sports to proceed, the Department of Public Health expressed its concerns, and noted that “not all high school sports are equal,” with a recommendation that football and volleyball be pushed to the spring.

The CIAC does not support moving sports to another season, and Sunday night’s decision states that “any fall sport that is cancelled will not be played at a later time during the 2020-2021 school year.”

“Both conditioning and skill work are to take part in small cohorts in adherence with guidance from the National Federation of State High School Associations and the DPH. Conducting conditioning and sport specific skill work as non-contact and in small cohorts is classified as low risk regardless of the sport,” the CIAC said in a statement Sunday night.

“I appreciate the community’s patience as this continues to evolve,” Siegal said. “Coaches are planners and it’s challenging to plan effectively when we continue to not know ultimately will happen, but coaches and athletes are resilient and I trust they will continue to remain positive.”

Siegal said he will continue to share information he receives from the CIAC with coaches and the community.

The CIAC said it intends to issue a revised timeline for the fall sports season this week.

“As it has done through this entire process, the board will continue to monitor the situation and the plan will remain fluid,” the CIAC said.

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