By: John Zuk and Ana Castro
Student athletes have been anxiously waiting for news about their winter sports season. As of right now, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference has pushed back the start of winter sports until January 19, 2021. Following the sudden rise of Covid-19 numbers, the state has been taking necessary precautions to minimize the spread of the virus. Many high schools have gone back to all remote learning until further notice. Therefore the CIAC has concluded that delaying the start of winter sports is the right decision for now. They plan on revisiting the issue when schools return to in person learning.
With the holidays approaching, the state Department of Health expects numbers to continue to increase within the next couple of months. The major concern for winter sports, including basketball, hockey, indoor track, swimming, cheerleading, and dance, is they are labeled as higher risk. Experts believe that the virus spreads easier indoors. Thus, it would be difficult to prevent the transmission of the virus while playing sports inside.
“I think pushing back the start of winter sports was a very tough but proactive decision. Rushing to start sports when cases are on the rise, especially ones played in close quarters, will eventually end in everybody having to stop in the middle of the season. By starting in January, it gives us a little bit of time to figure out how to play safer. As a senior captain, I tell my team to stay focused and in shape during the months ahead. You don’t know what opportunities or circumstances might pop up, and it’s important not to give up before anything is officially cancelled, ” said senior girls indoor track captain, Maya Fox.
Everyone is trying to stay positive during these times in hopes of having the opportunity to have some sort of a season. For seniors this means potentially losing their last season.
“We’re desperate for some type of season. If the CIAC can work out a plan to get us out on the ice, we would be more than grateful.” said senior hockey captain, Michael Domenichelli.
While the CIAC and the Department of Health have been trying to figure out a way to let the athletes compete, there was mild conversation about mask-on-play. The CIAC is aware that when an athlete exerts energy, he or she then proceeds to breathe, oftentimes heavily. Though at this point it is mere conversation, there is potential for masks to be required under hockey helmets in an anticipated winter season.
“I will do whatever it takes to play. That said, my ability to breathe is also a number one priority and I believe a mask is an obstruction to that priority.” said senior Rocco Veneruso.
There are many factors to consider when developing a plan to allow athletes to play safely. News is changing everyday and the future remains unpredictable.
Spring sports are already facing repercussions with restrictions on the off season with limited coaching and practices. In the past, Masuk’s lacrosse, baseball and softball have seen practice time starting as early as before winter break in off school site facilities. These facilities are either closed or restricted for limited amounts of people.
The question of whether sports will continue remains up in the air. As for our winter sports, the CIAC will keep us updated. Fingers crossed for a season start on the proposed January 19th date.