HARTFORD — In an effort to salvage the fall 11-on-11 football season, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference presented the state Department of Public Health with new strategies for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 at a Friday-morning meeting at the state Capitol.
Glenn Lungarini, the CIAC’s executive director, said some of those strategies included limiting the number of people on each sideline, having players wear face masks or face shields, providing a designated area where players could remove masks to catch their breath and other ideas.
He said DPH will review those, and the CIAC will make its decisions from there. He didn’t give a timetable, but he said the department understands the urgency: They’re running out of time to get in a meaningful season while allowing players to condition fully for the season.
Lungarini, associate executive director Gregg Simon and others arrived at about 9:30 a.m. Paul Mounds, Gov. Ned Lamont’s chief of staff, came across the hall about 10 minutes later with acting DPH commissioner Deidre Giffords and others. The door closed at 9:43 without the governor in attendance.
Initial thoughts were that the meeting would last about an hour, but it kept going.
After saying in the summer it wouldn’t postpone a fall sport to the spring, the CIAC allowed conditioning in all fall sports to begin last month, only to announce on Sept. 4 that the DPH’s unwillingness to recommend playing the sport wouldn’t allow it to hold 11-on-11, full-contact football. Teams were allowed to continue conditioning.
Players rallied in Hartford on Wednesday at the Capitol, drawing an estimated 1,200 supporters, trying to get those involved to change their minds, and Lamont said that night he’d ask the CIAC and DPH to meet. Players had also rallied in West Hartford and New Canaan over the holiday weekend.
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