Athletes on Campus

Student-athletes testing for COVID-19 began May 26 according to Texas A&M Athletics.

When the SEC announced on May 22 that student-athletes could return to campus for voluntary workouts starting on June 8, the member schools were tasked with creating a plan of action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within their programs.

On Sunday, Texas A&M Athletics released its guidelines for student-athletes, which have been in effect since May 22.

The Return to Activities plan details which facilities are opening for student-athlete use, the protocol for athletes and staff returning to campus and a plan for those who test positive for COVID-19.

The athletic department has made only weight rooms and certain outdoor facilities, such as the West Campus Player Development Center field, football practice fields, soccer fields, baseball field and outdoor track, available to student-athletes.

Upon returning to campus, student-athletes will be tested for the coronavirus and are encouraged to continue practicing social distancing.

According to the athletic department’s executive summary, testing for COVID-19 started on May 26 and “will be available at various intervals throughout the summer to accommodate waves of returning SAs and staff.”

“This initial testing is not intended to prevent all illnesses — the goal is to provide as close to a blank slate as possible upon return to minimize the risk of early transmission,” the summary read.

The Eagle reported close to 500 student-athletes across all sports have been tested, and “less than five” athletes have tested positive, according to The Dallas Morning News.

“COVID-19 test results will need to come back negative and a passing physical is required before student-athletes can start voluntary activity in our facilities,” the plan states.

Prior to using the facilities, student-athletes must complete a daily COVID-19 screening, which consists of a survey and a temperature scan, though it is not a requirement for staff. Those who report symptoms or otherwise positive answers will be sent home for a telemedicine screening with a team physician.

The plan also lists several guidelines for the use of the weight rooms. In addition to a capacity limit and a single access point, the number of weight racks inside the facilities are limited. A “rigorous cleaning routine” will also be implemented.

Coaches and staff who come into contact with athletes are required to wear face coverings, while student-athletes will not be required to do so during training.

According to the plan, locker rooms and common areas will remain closed.

Though the official return of student-athletes to campus was scheduled for Monday, the university authorized a specialized full-day release in observance of George Floyd’s death and public memorial service. A&M Athletics included its facilities, with the exception of the Slocum Nutrition Center, in the release.

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