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CIAC to bring fall sports back; coaches, athletes ready to get back to the game prioritizing health safety

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CHESHIRE, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference – the governing body of high school athletics in CT – is expected to release its plan for fall sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic today.

High school student-athletes and coaches in CT are eager find out if they will be getting back on the field come September. The CIAC says they want to give school superintendents some time to look over the plan and sleep on it.

Glen Lungarini, the executive director of CIAC and CAS, told News 8 in an interview Thursday, the organization has been monitoring the state coronavirus data to determine when it will be safest to bring student-athletes back in the game.

RELATED: Eastern Connecticut State University previews back-to-school plans amid COVID-19 pandemic

“CIAC is proud that we’ve always kept the health and safety of our schools and communities at the forefront of our decision-making,” Lungarini said.

It seems the data is looking good to CIAC because Lungarini announced there will be fall sports:

“At 4:15 this afternoon, our CIAC Board of Control approved a plan that was put forth by the CIAC Fall Sports Committee to have fall sports starting this year,” Lungarini said. “The one thing that we know is that everything needs to remain fluid.”

The details of the plan are set to be officially released Friday at noon, but News 8 was able to get a sneak peek Thursday night.

Right now, the football season will start on Sept. 24 and end Oct. 30. The maximum number of games will be eight, including possible tournament games. Soccer, field hockey, cross country, swimming, and volleyball will be allowed to play no more than 14 games.

But what about fans? The CIAC says they will allow individual schools to make that call with proper social distancing guidelines.

And travel to and from games? The CIAC says they believe a regional model of play will assist with transportation issues and make it more likely for families to transport their own children.

Lungarini says CIAC will continue to monitor the pandemic metrics in the state in collaboration with the Dept. of Public Health, the Connecticut State Medical Society, superintendents of schools across the state, and state leaders to make decisions for sports past the fall.

Lungarini stressed that everything about these plans is fluid and adjustments may be made between Thursday night and noon Friday.

News 8 spoke to some fall sports coaches Thursday about the potential of getting back on the field, and, as you can imagine, these are stressful decisions. Most say, they are ready to get back to the game and their student-athletes, but safety is the top priority.

Hear more from coaches in the video below:

Stay tuned for more details later today.

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