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Meriden to proceed with high school football for fall 2020 season

Officials said they were aware the sport would occur regardless. Permitting season allows officials to mitigate risk of COVID-19 exposure in club or private leagues.

MERIDEN, Conn. — One week after the CIAC finally decided there would be no high school football this fall, Meriden officials announced that high school football teams in their city will in fact proceed with 2020 fall season.

RELATED: CIAC reaffirms earlier decision to cancel full contact football for the 2020-2021 school year

Officials said they recognized the sport would still occur despite the city, local health department and DPH's opposing recommendation. 

According to a release, those avenues to play would be taken outside of Meriden as a club sport or in private leagues.

RELATED: Independent high school football league starting to gain traction

Without control, city officials would lose the ability to manage player exposure.

Consequently, City Manager Tim Coon reported that Meriden has elected to permit the sport of football to be played in the fall.

“The Meriden Department of Health and Human Services and I have provided requirements that will mitigate the risk of COVID-19 exposure," Coon said. "The intention behind the requirements is to keep the student-athletes, coaches and support staffs at the lowest exposure risk possible during the season.”

The following requirements have been put in place as the city efforts to lessen the risk of COVID-19 exposure:

  1. Any positive test for COVID 19, by any player, coach, assistant coach, or any other individual involved with a high school team that is deemed by the Director of Health and Human Services to have exposed the team, will require that entire team to quarantine for the required 14 days.  
  2. If the State of Connecticut COVID positivity rate exceeds 5% on any day during the football season, game play, at a minimum will be halted.  Additionally, if the State in any of its ministerial decisions, indicates that game play will be halted, that also will conclude high school football game play.
  3. High school football in Meriden will be conducted under the Football Return to Action Plan. The State of CT Reopen Rules for Sports must also be followed. Violations of the Reopen Rules may lead to games being halted/seasons being cancelled.

To view the full memo, click here.

Following the CIAC's September 16 announcement, Executive Director Glenn Lungarini said, "We've exhausted all the potential strategies for mitigating risk."

The CIAC said, "This decision was made in alignment with the Connecticut Department of Health’s recommendation that football is a high-risk sport and should not be played this fall. The board did, however, agree it would consider allowing competition at a later time for a sport that cannot hold its regularly scheduled season, such as football, provided it does not negatively impact spring sports.

The Connecticut Department of health has recommended substituting “higher risk” athletic activities with “moderate risk” or “lower risk” options and /or postponing those activities to a later time. The CIAC said they would recommend low and moderate-risk football activities in which schools may continue to engage their football athletes later this week.

“CIAC made every effort to weigh all factors in this decision, including the passionate voices of students, parents, and school personnel, and ultimately made the determination to align its decision with the recommendations of the Governor’s office and DPH to not hold high-risk sports at this time,” CAS-CIAC Executive Director Glenn Lungarini stated. “In conversation with other state associations across the country, it was clear that a key factor in playing interscholastic football was alignment with the opinion of their state’s governor and state health agency.”