Nonnewaug athletes will have a chance at a fall sports season after Regional School District 14’s Board of Education on Monday night reversed its decision and allowed students to return to conditioning and practice.
The board voted to let athletes take part in activities under the CIAC’s latest plan, under which non-contact, small-group practices are already ongoing in some districts.
The plan progresses toward a Oct. 1 start to the season in football, girls volleyball, soccer, field hockey and cross country, though each step along the way depends on the state’s COVID-19 metrics remaining low.
The board unanimously authorized superintendent Joseph Olzacki to permit the conducting of fall sports that, in consultation with state and local health officials and the board, he feels can be played safely and with appropriate protocols in place. The board assumed that Nonnewaug athletes would, in fact, begin outdoor conditioning.
Region 14 voted unanimously on Aug. 17 to postpone all fall sports. Board chairman George Bauer said students and parents reached out to ask the board to reconsider, though some parents sent along concerns as well. An Aug. 23 letter from the state Department of Public Health to the CIAC, which supported conditioning and non-contact drills, also contributed to the decision.
Bauer said that athletic director Declan Curtin’s plan is “in lockstep with the DPH, so that would be, for now, conditioning for all sports, but … as of today, no football or volleyball as we know it.”
The DPH has recommended that the CIAC not conduct girls volleyball indoors as usual and not conduct full-contact, 11-on-11 football.
“I think we’re going to see a lot of clarity in the next 2-3 weeks from the DPH regarding volleyball,” Curtin said in response to a question about volleyball players potentially wearing masks in competition.
“I think for right now, if the board decides that sports can go forward, I think you can allow the conditioning, the non-contact skill stuff, and then maybe 2-3 weeks from now we’ll have the clarity we need regarding volleyball, and potentially football.”
Nonnewaug’s football players, who played a limited varsity schedule last year, have joined a co-op with Sacred Heart and Kaynor Tech.
Other boards of education have discussed athletics but only Bridgeport’s administration had pulled out of any fall sports, football and volleyball. New Haven’s health department said it wouldn’t allow its schools to practice or play moderate or high-risk sports. Both cities’ decisions came down on Aug. 14.