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The Atlantic Coast Conference’s Medical Advisory Group released a seven-page coronavirus report Wednesday outlining guidelines and information regarding testing, masks, quarantining and discontinuing games.
The group, composed of 15 medical and athletic experts, created “minimum standards (to) provide guidance on appropriate risk mitigation strategies and engender a level of trust and confidence,” the report states.
Because the guidelines are the “minimum,” the ACC acknowledged that stricter local or state rules may apply. For now, however, the 15 ACC schools and any nonconference opponents are expected to abide by these regulations as of Aug. 1.
Here’s a breakdown of the report:
COVID-19 testing and positive results
All football team members — including players, coaching staff, trainers, administrative assistants and academic support providers — must be tested for COVID-19 within three days of every game, beginning the week of the first game. The guidelines also apply to team members of Olympic sports, as well as those in “close contact” with them.
The report deemed five of Syracuse’s seven ACC-sponsored fall sports, as well as lacrosse and basketball, to be at “high-risk,” of spreading COVID-19. Players in these sports must undergo weekly testing.
The exception to the weekly testing is cross country, which is listed in the report as “medium-risk.” Those athletes can be tested every other week. Low-risk athletes, like golf or tennis players, should be tested at the discretion of the institution.
Additional testing and contact tracing should also be conducted at the institution’s discretion. Athletes identified through contact tracing should quarantine for 14 days, the ACC’s report states.
If a student-athlete tests positive for COVID-19, they’ll isolate for at least 10 days from the detection of symptoms or the return of the positive test result. The athlete must also have recovered for at least one day. The team’s medical staff will decide when the athlete can return to play.
Within 24 hours of a positive test result, the team is expected to notify all opponents who have come within six feet of the player for more than 15 minutes in the previous 48 hours.
Benches, sidelines and locker rooms
Everyone in the bench area, including coaches, bench players, trainers and players who have just exited the game, is expected to wear a mask. Football and men’s lacrosse are the only exceptions. Those players are wearing helmets on the sidelines, and face shields are being developed to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets for football, according to the ACC report.
Temperature checks, six-foot distancing and masks are required for any individual on the sidelines.
Each school’s staff will be responsible for disinfecting home and visiting locker rooms, as well as bench areas. Visiting teams will also get additional time to conduct further sanitation at their discretion.
- Football officials should also abide by three-day testing requirement.
- Postgame interaction should be limited between players, staff and coaches.
- Except officials and players, anyone handling equipment should be screened and should wear gloves and a mask.
- Campus-wide outbreaks, an inability to control and isolate positive COVID-19 cases or insufficient hospitalization in case of a surge could all lead to “game discontinuation.”
- Pregame or postgame routines that violate six-foot social distancing should be eliminated.
- Travel groups for teams should be evaluated to minimize risk of exposure.
- Teams should be aware of the mental health of student-athletes, especially as it pertains to COVID-19 changes.
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