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Syracuse athletes or members of the athletic staff have not tested positive for COVID-19 in the past nine days, Vice Chancellor Mike Haynie confirmed.
Syracuse University administered 1,344 COVID-19 tests between Aug. 2 and Aug. 11. About 400 came from athletes and athletic staff, all of which came back negative. The tests were administered in a pooled saliva screening, Haynie said in a statement to The Daily Orange.
The university’s COVID-19 tracker, which went live Tuesday, shows eight students have tested positive for COVID-19 since Aug. 2. Three of the cases are among students within central New York and five are among those outside the area.
Syracuse head coach Dino Babers has praised the university’s testing protocol and his team’s testing results since football training camp began Aug. 6. Players have similarly lauded the protocols, but Syracuse never made test results public throughout voluntary workouts, unlike other schools.
“We just finished our 1,200th test,” Babers said on Aug. 6. “And I know I’m not allowed to tell you what the number is, but if they were basing a National Championship, Final Four off of COVID testing and who had the lowest number, I really believe we’d be in the Final Four.”
All of SU’s fall sports teams, excluding cross country, had returned to campus as of July 30. Syracuse’s football team began its voluntary offseason workouts June 9.
The football team followed a COVID-19 protocol that included regular testing, social distancing and limited contact through small groupings, or “pods.” Players, who were immediately tested upon arrival and isolated until they returned a negative test, were also subject to daily temperature checks and blood oxygen level testing.
Syracuse had “only one or two” positive tests during that first week of voluntary workouts, marking the last known, unofficial metric for test results regarding SU Athletics, according to The Athletic’s Matthew Gutierrez. But amid concerns over other universities’ health procedures, football players sat out their first practice of training camp and instead held team meetings, some of which included Director of Athletics John Wildhack and Babers.
Players brought a list of concerns to the meetings, and the university later committed to twice-weekly testing in-season as well as recommending the rest of the conference to follow suit.
The ACC announced in late July that football and fall Olympic sports will begin with schedule modifications the week of Sept. 7-12. The Orange open their football season on the road against North Carolina on Sept. 12. Other schedules haven’t been released yet.
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