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High school athletes, parents prepare for winter sports to begin this week

"It's not easy to play sports in a pandemic, but we've done this in consultation with the medical experts," said the CIAC's Executive Director.

CONNECTICUT, USA — High school winter sports are set to begin this week after a plan was laid out by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC).

The Board of Control voted to approve a winter sports plan that allows practice to begin on Jan. 19 and games no sooner than Feb. 8.

"It's scary, but I want to encourage him to attend and just hopefully they take the precautions to keep everyone safe," said Jessica Torres, whose son is trying out for the basketball team at E.C. Goodwin Technical High School in New Britain. "He needs interaction with his peers. This virtual world he's in, it's not the same."

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) says basketball, hockey, gymnastics, and swimming are safe enough to begin practicing and playing games.

12 regular-season games will be permitted for those sports, according to CIAC.

Boys and girls indoor track teams will be limited to practice with indoor/outdoor meets considered no earlier than March.

Wrestling, competitive cheer, and dance are considered high risk. Officials say they should only engage in small group interaction for the winter season.

The CIAC also voted to cancel the alternative season, which means no high school football in the spring. That news came much to the disappointment of Bob Dimock's son, who plays football at Stonington High School.

"It's having a really hard effect on all the kids. The CIAC basically they've strung the kids out and that's the department of health too. They strung the kids out with false hopes this whole time," said Dimock.

CIAC Executive Director Glenn Lungarini said the ultimate goal is to keep everyone safe.

"It's not easy to play sports in a pandemic, but we've done this in consultation with the medical experts, with the department of health who's provided great guidance and we have a safe plan for schools that as you said provides flexibility for them whenever their kids are ready," said Lungarini.

Championships at the league level in all sports will be allowed from March 15-28. No CIAC state championship tournaments will be held in the winter sports season.

Masks must be worn by anyone involved and social distancing is a priority, the email said.

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