High school football will not be held this fall in its current 11 on 11 format, the CIAC Board of Control voted Friday morning.
The state Department of Health maintained its stance on football not being played in an 11 on 11 format and girls volleyball games being held outdoors in an email response Thursday from DPH acting commissioner Deidre S. Gifford to the questions asked by CIAC executive director Glenn Lungarini, who sent his original email on Aug. 28.
In a statement from the CIAC Friday morning: “Without DPH support, the CIAC cannot move forward with a full contact season as it would place superintendents and boards of education in the impossible position of acting against the recommendation of a state agency. As such, the CIAC Board of Control, in alignment with DPH recommendations, has determined that high risk full contact football is no longer a viable option.”
The DPH has maintained that football only be played this fall in a 7 on 7 format.
“With regard to CIAC’s consideration of additional mitigation strategies for indoor girls’ volleyball and football that may lower their risks for person-to-person respiratory droplet spread, DPH has suggested that CIAC consider modifications to higher risk activities, and we continue to encourage such modifications. Absent such modifications, DPH is unlikely to support higher risk activities for the Fall term,” Gifford stated in DPH’s email to the CIAC.
The CIAC did say it would work with “athletic directors, coaches, and medical experts to provide football players with meaningful low to moderate risk fall activities.” The CIAC did not specify how football would be conducted in its release.
Th CIAC stated Friday that it believes by girls volleyball players wearing masks indoors, the season could be held inside. “The CIAC has aligned volleyball with DPH’s previous support of full team practice and game schedules for soccer, field hockey, cross country, and swimming,” the statement reads.
One question asked by Lungarini was if the DPH would support football moving to the low- to moderate-risk category after Sept. 21 “if supported by COVID metrics that would permit sports such as soccer and field hockey to proceed in that manner?” Sept. 21 is when fall sports are scheduled to begin moving cohorts up from 10, which would make the sports more in the moderate-risk category.
If that were to be approved, Lugarini asked DPH if the organization would be willing to look at the COVID metrics at that point and see if by Oct. 1, the regular season for football – and all other sports – could begin if the metrics remained in good standing.
This decision by the CIAC Board of Control comes less than two weeks after preseason conditioning had resumed (on Aug. 24) after it was paused for more than a week while the CIAC reviewed the state DPH’s guidelines on bringing back fall sports.
Non-contact skill development began for all fall sports on Aug. 29.
The CIAC Board of Control decided on Aug. 23 that any fall sports canceled would not be moved to the spring season.
The CIAC football committee voted on Aug. 10 to move the season to the spring. Two days later, the CIAC announced it was proceeding with fall sports as planned.
The DPH provided its recommendation a day later to push both football and girls volleyball to the spring and pause all fall sports conditioning “until at least two weeks after the reopening of in-person instruction in schools.”
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