CHESHIRE, CT (WFSB) - The governing body that oversees high school sports in the state reaffirmed on Wednesday that full contact football is cancelled.
The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference met Wednesday morning to discuss guidance from the state Department of Public Health.
It announced the final decision later in the day, saying full contact football wouldn't be played for the upcoming 2020-21 season.
The CIAC did, however, agree that 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 conference has been going back and forth on a decision about whether or not to proceed with a high school football season in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following a meeting last week between the CIAC and the DPH, health officials continued to call football a "high risk" sport.
At that meeting, the CIAC said it presented strategies, such as safety shields inside helmets and reducing the number of people along the sidelines.
However, the DPH said it was not convinced that such measures would reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission.
Monday, the DPH said it could not sanction football this fall unless the National Federation of High Schools reduced football from high to moderate risk. It continued to recommend that all high risk sports, including volleyball, be canceled or postponed.
The CIAC said it had been talking with the federation to see if its proposed measures would allow for such a reduction.
In response, the federation said it wouldn't approve or disapprove of individual state guidelines.
After Wednesday's meeting, the CIAC said it would recommend low and moderate-risk football activities so schools could engage their football athletes.
“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.”
Wednesday's meeting came on the heels of news that a student from Meriden tested positive for COVID-19 and attended a "Let us play" rally at the state capitol last week.
A letter was sent to the Maloney High School community from principal Jennifer Straub, in which she said the student did not attend school when symptoms developed.
The DPH said it was notified. It said people who were in contact with the student have been notified and told to quarantine for 14 days.