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Fall 2020 COVID-19 Safety Measures and Protocol

Outlined below is an overview of the safety measures put in place by the Department of Athletics for the fall 2020 semester. Saint Mary's College is not competing during this semester.

First Steps:

  • Screenings with our Athletic Trainers and submission of all sports medicine paperwork.
  • NCAA Compliance and in-person/small group discussion of health and safety protocol.
    • In addition to NCAA compliance education, new health and safety protocol will be discussed in detail with time for Q & A
  • Surveillance testing for all sports will be conducted before we begin sport practices.
    • Each student-athlete and Athletic Department personnel member will get tested based on guidance from the NCAA. This testing needs to be done, at most, 72 hours before first practices. Individuals must test negative to be able to begin practices.
  • Student-athletes, coaches, and athletic personnel must commit to practicing infection control outside of sport by:

1.  Honestly reporting on the daily health checks.
2. Avoiding large gatherings where masking, social distancing, and other safety protocols are not adhered to.
3. Making a personal commitment to following the Saint Mary's College health & safety protocol: Check Up, Mask Up, Back Up, Wash Up

  • All student-athletes must inform our Athletic Trainers if they have had COVID-19. Ashley and Katie must know this before you begin practices. Through consultation with our team physician, a proper pre-participation screening and physical will be conducted in accordance with NCAA guidelines.

Daily / Pre-Practice:

  • It is the expectation that student-athletes will complete the Healthy Roster daily survey. If an answer triggers a response to stay home, notify your coach as well as Ashley and Katie. Student-athletes will not attend practice unless cleared by Health & Counseling.
  • Pre-practice: student-athletes will check in with their coach (or *coach's proxy) for a pre-practice daily health check. Student-athletes may do this screening up to an hour prior to practice. Golfers - due to travel to the course, pre-practice health checks can be arranged sooner. This is an in-person health check in which requires student-athletes to scan a QR code in order to answer some questions. Coaches* will take student-athletes’ temperatures and have them record it on the appropriate form. Student-athletes will fill the form out in the presence of their coach*. Student-athletes will either be cleared to practice or answers will trigger a call to our Athletic Trainers and/or Health & Counseling. Coaches* will walk student-athletes through that.
  • If student-athletes need treatment prior to practice, they will still see their coach* for their health screening first; then, they will go to the Athletic Training Room door and wait for the next treatment opening.

Practices:

  • Practice plans and procedures are being worked on collectively with our Athletic Trainers, Administration, and coaches to ensure we are pursuing the best possible safety measures.
  •  Masking:
    • Always have your mask with you.
    • Mask-wearing will be dependent on each individual sport. Masks will always be required regardless of sport during team breaks, instruction from coaches, and when in close proximity to others during non-practice related interaction.
    • Coaches will wear masks. The only times they will not need to wear masks is when they are outside and more than six feet away from others. Inside coaches must wear masks.
  • Following the guidance of the NCAA, during the first two weeks of practices, coaches will assign student-athletes to small groups. 
    • These groups, while practicing at the same time and in the same general space, will practice distanced from the rest of the other small groups on their team. These small groups will not share equipment with the other groups. Groups will not change for the first two weeks. The reasoning behind this training is risk mitigation. Should a student-athlete test positive, this limits the exposure of others.
    • Examples of what this training would look like: 
      • Volleyball, Tennis, Basketball: small groups will have their own court and own basket, hopper, or cart of balls 
      • Soccer, Lacrosse: small groups will be on one half of the field and possibly use the lacrosse/soccer field for other small groups in order to maintain appropriate space
      • Softball: small groups will have their own bats and buckets balls and could rotate between infield, outfield, batting cages, bull pens. If bats must be shared, they must be sanitized between use. No shared helmets. 
      • Cross Country: small groups that do not directly trail one another (side by side rather than directly behind). Maintain greater distances between small groups.
      • Golf: maintain distancing and avoid shared equipment. When carpooling to the course wearing your mask, have windows cracked for air flow, and no more than two student-athletes per vehicle (front seat/back seat).
  • After all practices, make it a routine to wash hands and arms (or other shared equipment direct skin touch zones).
  • No high fives, handshakes, huddles, maintain distancing, and avoid physical contact when possible.
  • Once the seasons begin, the Athletic Department will monitor for continuation based on a combination of factors, some of which include: 
    • A lack of ability to isolate new positive cases or quarantine high contact risk cases on campus.
    • Unavailability or inability to perform symptomatic, surveillance, and pre-competition testing (note - Saint Mary's is not competing this fall) when warranted per recommendations.
    • Campus wide or local community test rates that are considered unsafe by local public health officials.
    • Inability to perform adequate contact tracing consistent with governmental requirements or recommendations.
    • Local public health officials stating that there is an inability for the hospital infrastructure to accommodate a surge in hospitalizations related to COVID-19.
  • All processes, procedures, and safety measures can be adapted at any time to maximize safety.

Testing throughout the season for teams that are practicing - no competition:

  • Golf and Tennis [NCAA Classification as Low Contact Risk sport]: surveillance testing in conjunction with a university plan for all students, plus additional testing for symptomatic and high contact risk individuals.
  • Cross Country and Softball [NCAA Classification as Medium Contact Risk]: surveillance PCR testing, for example, testing 25%-50% of athletes and "inner bubble" personnel every two weeks if physical distancing, masking and other protective features are not maintained, plus additional testing for symptomatic and high-contact risk individuals.
  • Basketball, Lacrosse, Soccer, Volleyball [NCAA Classification as High Contact Risk Sport]: surveillance PCR testing, for example, 25%-50% of athletes and "inner bubble" personnel every two weeks if physical distancing, masking and other protective features are not maintained*, plus additional testing for symptomatic and high contact risk individuals.

Note - all safety measures and protocol are subject to change as improved or revised recommendations are made.