There has been a lot of information, points of view, and opinions that have been discussed regarding high school athletics over the last few weeks through the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC). At times, it has seemed as if we have been watching a tennis match!
As of Sept. 17, the CIAC Board of Control reaffirmed its Sept. 3 decision to cancel full contact football for the 2020-2021 school year. This decision was made in alignment with the Connecticut Department of Health’s recommendation that football is a high-risk sport and should not be played this fall. The Board of Control did, however, agree 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.
At this point, Dave Francalangia, director of Athletics, Health and Physical Education, has spoken to the coaching staff and players regarding options the district has for football this fall season, as there are some football-related activities that can occur. These activities will be further discussed with the CIAC, the Central Connecticut Conference (CCC) and the coaching staff.
Although football will not be the same as in years past, we will try and provide as many football-related activities as possible for our student-athletes.
Other sports will have a condensed season with the hope of a postseason tournament. There are some restrictions that will be enforced at each home contest. Fans will be limited at all home events, with each student-athlete receiving game day tickets, which they will be able to distribute to their families. They will receive these tickets a week prior to all home contests.
The CCC has agreed that no visiting fans will be in attendance at games, only home fans for participating schools.
More information will be forthcoming outlining procedures for specific sites, which include Sage Park, BHS’s Gibney Gym and Pistol Creek. All swim meets will be away this year and the district will be contacting athletic directors and aquatic directors as to their protocols for the possible allowance of fans at pool venues.
Each sport will have their own individual circumstances which they must adhere to in order for play to occur. For example, volleyball players must wear masks at all times during the games and there will be no soccer ball persons at each of the matches. This presents many unique challenges for the athletic department, coaching staff, parents and, most importantly, our athletes. Please be assured that Dave Francalangia is continually having conversations, asking questions and advocating for our student-athletes and their right to participate and compete for Berlin High School.
At the middle school, we will offer all sports and are in the process of finalizing a fall schedule with neighboring schools for boys and girls soccer and cross country. Students should be registering on Family ID and bringing in their physical to the nurse in order to be cleared to participate.
We appreciate the continued support for our student-athletes during this time of so much change and uncertainty.
Let’s go ‘Coats! Go Spartans!