One month after he declined to let Bridgeport high school students play high- or moderate-risk sports this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic, superintendent of schools Mike Testani confirmed that football players have begun non-contact, small-group conditioning practices.
Testani also said he’s hoping the state plays football in the spring.
“If schools are still open as we are, I’d love to sneak in a six-, seven-game (spring) season,” Testani said. “I don’t understand why that’s not an option.
Soccer teams are cleared to practice as well, but Testani said the city schools are not going ahead with indoor girls volleyball.
The CIAC is working toward an indoor volleyball season with players wearing masks. It canceled 11-on-11 football on Sept. 4. It is, though, still communicating with the state Department of Public Health on strategies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in an attempt to win DPH recommendation for a fall season. Those efforts have been unsuccessful so far, and a fall season won’t have unanimous participation anyway.
Testani announced on Aug. 14 that Bridgeport schools had postponed their participation in full-contact football and girls volleyball.
A spring football season of some sort also has the support of DPH and Gov. Ned Lamont, assuming the COVID-19 metrics at the time support it. In resisting a spring option for football and other sports, the CIAC has said there are no guarantees that the metrics will support playing then.
“It’s not an easy decision for anybody to make,” Testani said. “Just opening schools has been a task.”
Following sanitation guidelines will be another task, Testani said, and it’s hard to lay all that responsibility on a coach, he added.
Students from the city’s charter schools were not allowed to take part in conditioning.
“We’re trying to cohort kids to be able to contract trace,” Testani said. “We’ve had a couple of cases of COVID in the district. … We’re not going to mix schools.”
Testani wasn’t sure how many charter-school students that might affect this fall but said a coach could work with those students at their own schools if everyone involved so desired.