CHESHIRE, March 18, 2020 – The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) is still holding out hope that there will be a spring season of interscholastic sports in the Nutmeg State this spring.
But bowing to the reality of the contagious COVID-19 virus that has brought life to a standstill in Connecticut, in much of the United States and countries around the world, the CIAC has suspended spring sports indefinitely.
The CIAC has been in contact with state leaders, legislators, the Department of Health, school superintendents and athletic directors from around the state. They had a conference call with nearly 70 participants on Wednesday morning.
CIAC officials will continue to coordinate with state leaders and officials from the Department of Health on the latest news regarding the pandemic.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont ordered all schools closed through March 31. The Center of Disease Control and Protection (CDC) advised on Sunday that gatherings of 50 people or more should not be held for at least eight weeks, which is in mid-May.
As of Wednesday evening, 96 state residents have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and one person, an 88-year-old man from a nursing home in Stafford Springs has died from the virus, according to CTNewsJunkie.com.
Several collegiate leagues have cancelled spring sports activities, including the Ivy League, America East, the American Athletic Conference, NESCAC and the Northeast Conference. Sports are done for the year at UConn, Central Connecticut State, Yale and the University of Hartford among other schools.
“We hope the students are hopeful,” said Glenn Lungarini, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS) and the CIAC. “The primary message we want to give here in suspending activities is that we’re not cancelling activities. We want them to be hopeful there will be a spring experience and that we’re working on our end to deliver that in any way possible that we can no matter how it looks.”
Lungarini had no answers regarding a shorter season, a shorter state tournament or any other options. The CIAC will consider their options as information becomes available.
Practice for most spring sports was scheduled to begin on Saturday, March 21 with the spring season beginning on April 4. The regular season was scheduled to be done around Memorial Day with the state tournaments concluding during the second weekend in June.
“The CIAC understands the value of providing students a spring sports experience, if possible. However, the health and safety of our communities must remain at the center of our decision making,” Lungarini said.
The press conference from CIAC headquarters in Cheshire was held virtually over the Zoom application with about 40 members of the media calling into the live video conference. Lungarini urged students to continue to practice social distancing to help minimize the number of Connecticut residents who are stricken with the virus. He said no teams should be practicing at this time, even informally.
“Information can change on a daily basis in terms of when schools may or may not be able to return and how we can best keep our people in our communities safe,” Lungarini said. “We would like to encourage our kids that the best thing they can do to get back to school and back to our fields of play is to adhere to the guidance of social distancing.”