Glenn Lungarini, executive director of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, said the CIAC is taking a precautionary and wait-and-see approach with the coronavirus issue when it comes to scheduling for its current state tournaments.
The CIAC posted an updated press release on its website on Monday morning stating it is collaborating with the Connecticut office of the Commissioner of Education and Department of Public Health to stay up to date on how the coronavirus is impacting Connecticut schools. At this time, no schools in Connecticut have been closed.
The CIAC is closely monitoring the latest information and reports from the Connecticut State Department of Education and Department of Public Health. Lungarini confirmed the CIAC is proceeding with its boys swimming, girls’ basketball, boys’ basketball, and hockey tournaments as scheduled.
“We are taking that wait-and-see approach and we have been in communication with schools,” Lungarini said. “Some of the communication with the schools involve asking them to take precautionary measures during the postseason like wipedowns in spectator areas and cleaning up after events, which the schools normally do anyway.”
The CIAC will evaluate tournaments day-by-day to judge any impact of possible school closings or increased coronavirus outbreak. Changes to tournament schedules will be shared in a timely manner.
While the coronavirus issue comes at the busiest time of the sports season — the postseason – Lungarini said for now there has been no real impact when it comes to the day-to-day planning of sports events due to the experience of the CIAC staff.
“Our day-to-day planning goes on as usual and that’s because our staff does a great job,” Lungarini said. “Schools are in constant communication with us, letting us know their situation, and our communication overall has been very good with everyone. The communication with the Connecticut Commissioner of Education (Dr. Miguel A. Cardona) has been exceptional.”
This season’s Connecticut high school state tournaments that have been completed have gone on without any interruption.
“At this point, the coronavirus isn’t new, it’s been around for some time now,” Lungarini said. “The concern regarding the virus has been there for weeks. We recently held our boys and girls indoor track state championships, gymnastics and cheerleading championships and our wrestling postseason meets. You can’t get in any more contact with another athlete as you can with wrestling.
“Following preventative recommendations from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and Connecticut DPH, we had no issues with any of those sports. That is due to the diligence of the schools. As administrators we always plan for unexpected issues.”
Lungarini also has a message for athletes, coaches and parents moving forward.
“At the CIAC we certainly appreciate and understand the commitment athletes have to their team,” Lungarini said. “But if you have a significant illness, if you are sick you should stay home. In tournament play, coaches feel more obligated to have an athlete present and compete. But if an athlete is sick, they should stay home.”
Cheshire athletic director Steve Trifone said for now it’s business as usual regarding the coronavirus issue.
“From an AD’s perspective, it is business as usual until otherwise told differently,” Trifone said. “Obviously, the priority is the health and safety of our students and fans. We are telling our students and coaches to follow CDC precautions like hand washing, etc., to minimize any issues.”