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Fall sports to continue as planned, CIAC executive director says

Athletes are encouraged to mask up in close quarters and locker rooms, but not on the field

CHESHIRE, Conn. — After an unprecedented year in sports in 2020, Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference executive director Glenn Lungarini told FOX61 on Tuesday that fall sports will continue on schedule.

He said football teams start with organized team activity days, or OTA's, on August 12. They then start conditioning on August 16, and all other sports will be back in action on August 26.

"We are going to start on time with our fall sports we expect to play full seasons. We expect to have postseason play again, and we've partnered with the Department of Health, looking at how we could do this safely," Lungarini said. "And one of the things that we encourage kids to consider is getting vaccinated."

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The CIAC is concentrating vaccination efforts on eligible student-athletes by going on the news, encouraging it in press releases, and working with CIAC coaches to get the word out.

"We continue to talk with the Department of Health as well as our medical experts to look at the numbers in Connecticut. Again, we are confident that right now we are going to start on time," Lungarini said.

Right now he said the CIAC is looking at the same sort of season they experienced last spring, and even last fall, where masks are required for indoor sports. He said this will primarily affect girl's volleyball. 

Additionally, the CIAC recommends that athletes wear masks when in close proximity to each other and in areas like locker rooms. They are not expected to mask up on the field outdoors. 

While he said the CIAC recognizes vaccination is a personal choice, Lungarini added the success of this season does rely heavily on vaccinations. It keeps kids out of extended quarantines and helps them complete full seasons.

"The more players that we have vaccinated, the better the likelihood of completing those full seasons and postseason play," Lungarini said.

The guidance from 2020 seasons left the CIAC with data that showed it is possible to play these sports safely, Lungarini said. This data then supports the mitigation strategies for safe play.

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He said the CIAC is excited to see these programs come back, and it's starting soon. The marching bands and color guards are starting up this week and next.

"Before we know it, our schools are going to be, you know, jumping with students on campus, and again it's exciting to have the kids back. It's really exciting," Lungarini said.

When should you get your kids vaccinated in preparation for the school year? Learn more here.


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