State updates sports guidance for winter season

State updates sports guidance for winter season
Photo credit State Department of Public Health

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTIC Radio)_ The Connecticut Department of Public Health has updated its sports guidance ahead of the winter sports season.

Due to a surge in coronavirus cases, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference scrapped its plans to start the winter school sports season on November 21, as originally planned. The CIAC has been awaiting updated guidelines from state health officials before setting a new date and creating a revised winter sports plan. The state's updated sports guidelines came Monday.

DPH has categorized sports by risk.

- Higher Risk: Wrestling; 11-on-11 Football; Martial Arts; Rugby; Boys Lacrosse; Boxing; Competitive Cheer; Competitive Dance.

- Moderate Risk: Basketball; Volleyball; Baseball; Softball; Soccer; Water Polo; Tennis (doubles); Swimming Relays; Pole Vault; High Jump; Long Jump; Girls Lacrosse; Rowing/Crew (with two or more runners in shell); 7-on-7 Football.

- Lower Risk: Individual Running Events; Throwing Events (Javelin, Shot Put; Discus); Running/Cross Country; Individual Swimming; Golf; Weightlifting; Alpine Skiing/Snowboarding; Sideline Cheer; Rowing/Crew (single sculling); Tennis (singles).

CT DPH Winter Sports Risk Categories
CT DPH says that, in all cases, indoor activities should be limited to group sizes of ten people or less, with appropriate mitigation strategies for indoor settings (face coverings if practical and safe, 6ft or more of distancing, etc). Photo credit Connecticut Department of Public Health

Among key recommendations, out-of-state competitions are not recommended for low, moderate, or high-risk sports. Governor Ned Lamont has said there will be no interstate tournaments.

DPH is recommending that athletes follow these restrictive measures, in addition to general restrictions for individual sports and activities:

- Requiring the use of face covering masks that completely cover the nose and mouth by all coaches and players (including during active play);
- Postponing indoor activities and/or moving indoor activities outdoors;
- Keeping individuals in small cohorts;
- Limiting/eliminating interactions with individuals outside of your household
- Increasing and maintaining distance between participants;
- Implementing rule changes that reduce the number, frequency, duration, and/or exertional level of person-to-person physical contact.

The CIAC has released a written statement following the release of the new guidance. It says "CIAC continues to work in collaboration with the Connecticut State Medical Society's Sports Medicine Committee, the Governor’s Office and the Connecticut Department of Public Health in planning for a safe interscholastic winter sports season."

“We appreciate the continued consideration DPH is giving to our conversations,” said CAS-CIAC Executive Director Glenn Lungarini.

The CIAC Board of Control plans to meet on November 17 to discuss the future of a winter school sports season.