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Connecticut postpones winter high school season until mid-January

By Pat Eaton-Robb
Associated Press

The organization that oversees high school sports in Connecticut has decided to postpone the start of its winter sports season until mid-January at the earliest amid a statewide surge in coronavirus cases.

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference made the announcement Tuesday following a vote by its Board of Control. 

Under the board's plan, practices for winter sports, which include basketball, hockey, indoor track, swimming, wrestling and cheer and dance, would begin on Jan. 19, 2021. 

Practices had been scheduled to begin next week, with games starting on Dec. 7.

The postponement comes after Gov. Ned Lamont's office earlier this month banned the playing of high-risk youth sports such as wrestling for the remainder of 2020. 

The governor, acting on the advice of state health officials, said medium-risk sports, such as basketball and hockey could be played only with participants wearing masks to prevent the spread of the virus. 

The CIAC said it will continue to collaborate with the state Department of Public Health, the governor's office and the state medical society's Committee on the Medical Aspects of Sports as it prepares for the Jan. 19 start of winter practices.

"CIAC Interscholastic athletics are an education-based experience that maintains in-person learning and the health and safety of our school communities as our top priority, the organization said in a statement. "Today's action supports our member schools while they continue to manage rising COVID numbers within their communities and experience widespread movements to distance learning."

The seven-day rolling average for Connecticut's coronavirus positivity rate has risen over the past two weeks from 3.6% on Nov. 2 to 5.53% on Nov. 16. State health departments are calculating positivity rates differently across the country, but for Connecticut the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test specimens using data from The COVID Tracking Project.