CIAC updates winter high school sports COVID guidelines to align with return-to-school protocols

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The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference released updated COVID guidelines for high school winter sports based on updated CDC and state Department of Public Health guidelines Tuesday, with the main change being the amount of time athletes are expected to quarantine following a positive COVID-19 test.

The changes now align with the updated state protocol for students’ return to academic instruction in school.

If an athlete who has any COVID-like symptoms tests positive or if no test is taken, the athlete must isolate at home for five days and can return to team activities on the sixth day or when the athlete is fever-free for 24 hours and other symptoms have improved. In the past, the athlete had to quarantine 10 days.

In addition, the athlete must wear a mask for 10 days around people outside their household (the 10-day window would be determined by the athlete’s health care provider) and will not be allowed to compete in sports that don’t require mask wearing due to safety concerns (wrestling, swimming, gymnastics and jumping and throwing events in indoor track) during that 10-day time period.

If the athlete’s test is negative, they can return to team activities after being fever-free for 24 hours and other symptoms are improved but the athlete should wear a mask around others until there are no symptoms.

Fully vaccinated athletes or athletes who are fully recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days who are deemed close contacts of a person with COVID-19 may continue to participate in sports, as long as they wear a mask. If athletes are not fully vaccinated or have not had COVID-19 in the last 90 days, they must quarantine for five days and can return on Day 6 with a negative test result. If the athlete tests positive, they must quarantine for four more days and can return if they are symptom-free.

The return-to-play protocols for athletes who test positive align with the return to play protocols for the American Academy of Pediatrics. Athletes with mild symptoms must wait at least seven days before returning to competition. Athletes with moderate symptoms (i.e., more than four days of fever of 100.4 or more, a non-ICU hospital stay) should consider waiting longer to return and athletes with severe symptoms (i.e, an ICU stay, intubation) should wait 3-6 months and must be cleared by a cardiologist to resume play.

The Connecticut DPH also recommended that unvaccinated athletes and coaches should not travel out of state for competition.

Lori Riley can be reached at

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