UPDATE, Aug. 14, 2:49 p.m.
In a statement, CIAC has confirmed that it will pause all sports activities until Aug. 24 as it reviews the Connecticut Department of Health’s recommendations.
UPDATE, Aug. 14, 1:34 p.m.
A source has confirmed to Hearst Connecticut Media that the CIAC will pause football activity for a week until August 24, based on the Connecticut Department of Health’s recommendations on the fall season.
The CIAC will use that time to invite the DPH to meet with them to discuss their options for 2020, the source said.
The Department of Health announced in a letter to the CIAC on Thursday that it was recommending pushing higher risk sports like football and volleyball to the spring due to coronavirus concerns.
The CIAC’s Board of Control officers reviewed the recommendations and the Board met Friday morning and afternoon to discuss the next course of action. Football cohort practices were set to begin on Monday.
The CIAC’s Board of Control began its second meeting of the week Friday morning, the day after the Connecticut Department of Health recommended the state’s governing body for high school sports postpone “high risk” football and volleyball programs to spring, according to multiple sources familiar with the ongoing meeting.
The CIAC on Thursday afternoon said its Board of Control officers would begin reviewing the DPH’s recommendations Thursday night.
The DPH’s recommendations follows a 17-0 Board of Control vote on Wednesday to proceed with the CIAC’s 2020 fall sports plan, including a shortened football season, which would begin with official cohort practices on Monday. All other sports are scheduled to begin practicing the following week for an anticipated Sept. 24 start time.
CIAC executive director Glenn Lungarini said Thursday afternoon that the plan will remain in place unless the full Board of Control reviews the DPH plan and decides otherwise.
“A review by the full board is necessary before any changes can be made to the approved plan,” he said.
That meeting appears to be ongoing as of Friday morning, multiple sources confirmed.
“As we’ve said throughout the meetings we’ve had, this process is fluid and can change hour-to-hour and day-to-day,” Lungarini said Thursday.
The meeting began just hours before New Haven Department of Health announced it was banning contact practices and games for sports like football and Bridgeport Public Schools’ decision to postpone football and volleyball for the 2020 season. Both decisions came after the state Department of Health’s released its recommendations to the CIAC.
DPH’s advice, written by acting commissioner Deidre S. Gifford Thursday morning, says state schools should “focus on re-starting academics first, allowing schools and students to acclimate to social distancing and mask-wearing requirements that are critical to successful reopening … followed shortly thereafter by the introduction of lower-risk sports.”
The DPH recommended the CIAC postpone all interscholastic activities — including conditioning and practices for fall sports — “until at least two weeks after the reopening of in-person instruction in schools.”
Though Lungarini personally requested an official recommendation from the DPH, the CIAC’s Board of Control proceeded with its Wednesday vote on the 2020 fall season without receiving that recommendation.
“Unfortunately, the timing didn’t work out to get (the DPH’s) official position on Wednesday,” Lungarini told Hearst Connecticut Media. “But I commend the work they’re doing. Their position is very detailed and we greatly appreciate it and we will review it.
“Our position now is, we have information today that’s different than yesterday. That’s OK. We have to be fluid. We will consider it and make any appropriate changes.”
The new information under consideration includes the DPH’s recommendation that the CIAC postpone sports deemed “higher risk” by the National Federation of High School Associations’ Sports Medicine Advisory committee.
“In Connecticut, this includes football,” the letter stated, saying that football is more conducive to spreading the coronavirus through infectious respiratory droplets. Volleyball, it said, was at a “moderate risk” due to its being played indoors and involves “significant physical exertion and forceful communication” between teammates.