The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) board of control voted Tuesday to postpone the start date of the high school winter sports season until Jan. 19, 2021.  All sports will be prohibited from practicing until then.

In a brief statement on its website, the CIAC posted that the Board of Control collaborated with the CT Department of Public Health (DPH), Gov. Ned Lamont’s office, and the CT State Medical Society’s (CSMS) Sports Medicine Committee in making the decision.

“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. 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 statement said.

The CIAC website also now publishes its own version of the COVID-19 Status map showing member schools and CT DPH data on COVID case rates by community.

CIAC executive director Glenn Lungarini told the Hartford Courant that the decision revolved around the number of member schools transitioning to distance learning as a result of COVID-19 infection rates and safety.

“We’re starting to see more schools lean toward a Jan. 19 date as a return. … We want our kids to be in classrooms for instruction as much as possible. We want our communities to be safe. The board felt this was a decision that gave clear direction and also kept the safety of our school communities at the forefront,” Lungarini said.

Lungarini also posted a video reiterating that the increasing COVID numbers in CT and moves by schools to distance learning were the primary drivers for the decision.

“The CIAC Board of Control continues to place in-person learning and the health and safety  of our school communities as a top priority. In taking today’s action we believe that we are continuing to hold to that standard,” he said.