Student-athletes in Connecticut will not be required to wear masks during the winter sports season, provided they are vaccinated against COVID-19, according to new guidance from the CIAC.
The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) has released its new guidance for the upcoming winter season as the state contends with a recent surge of new cases of the virus amid the holiday season.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the CIAC has been forced to make alterations on the fly as COVID-19 continues to evolve, forcing some schedule changes, canceled games, and mask mandates for fans and student-athletes alike.
According to the new CIAC guidance, which will go into effect after winter break, fully vaccinated student-athletes will not be required to wear masks, though school districts will have discretion over mandates, and the rules are subject to change in certain areas if there is an outbreak of the virus.
The mask guidance includes all basketball, hockey, swimming, wrestling, and indoor track events.
Teams will now play a full schedule, including interstate competition, seasons will conclude with state championship games, and student-athletes who are fully vaccinated do not have to quarantine if they have come in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 as long as they remain asymptomatic.
Spectators will not be limited under the new rules, though it will be up to schools and local health departments to determine if there are capacity limits at indoor venues.
The new guidance goes into effect on Monday, Nov. 29, as students are returning to the classroom following the Thanksgiving holiday.
CIAC Executive Director Glenn Lungarini stated that “Our primary interest has and continues to keep kids in-person instruction and that will remain the focus of our school districts and us as well, but if kids can do this and we can do this safely, it makes sense to start taking those steps towards more normal experiences if possible."
Complete guidance from the CIAC can be found here.
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