In less than two weeks the University of Florida and the 13 other schools that make up the SEC will begin to bring student-athletes back to campus.
After months of quarantine and the cancellation of most of the 2020 athletic schedule the league and schools are beginning to return to normal, or at least a new normal.
In an effort to bring student-athletes and sports back as quickly and as safely as possible there will be new measures taken to ensure safety. There have been a lot of questions surrounding what processes will be put in place, how new initiatives will be carried out and followed through with.
The following is a list of frequently asked questions along with answers to the questions released by the University Athletic Association (UAA).
Q: When will student-athletes be allowed back to campus?
A: The UAA has worked with state, campus, and UF Health officials to create a plan for student-athletes to gradually return to campus. Student-athletes will be brought back in phases – see Appendix A for a complete list of dates.
Q: Will student-athletes be screened before coming back to campus?
A: All student-athletes will be tested for COVID-19 as part of the physical exam process. Student-athletes will undergo a screening process prior to each time they enter the weight room and/or the Athletic Training facilities.
Q: What PPE will be required and provided for student-athletes?
A: Masks will be provided for all medical appointments. Student-athletes should follow CDC guidelines and wear masks or cloth face coverings while inside facilities. Masks are not recommended during workouts.
Q: What measures have been taken and will be taken to sanitize student-athlete shared spaces?
A: Wall-mounted hand sanitizer dispensers and refills will be installed/located at the entrance of every building and every department. Cleaning regimens have been established for each type of space.
Q: What will be the protocol if student-athletes do not follow recommended guidelines for safety and wellness?
A: Student-athletes will be educated on all recommended best practices as it relates to physical distancing, masks, and hand washing. Student-athletes will be reminded of all these practices to keep themselves, their teammates, and their coaches as safe as possible. Not following guidelines may result in loss of access to UAA facilities.
Q: What if student-athletes don’t feel safe coming back to campus?
A: The UAA understands student-athletes may have hesitations and anxiety about returning to campus and these concerns should be communicated to a member of the Athletic Training staff. In addition, student-athletes continue to have access to four licensed mental health counselors should they have mental health concerns or anxiety. Their contact information is listed in the attached pamphlet.
Q: Will shared student-athlete space protocols be established for those who return to campus?
A: The UAA is following state, campus, and UF Health guidance on shared/common spaces. Occupancy will be limited in those shared spaces and all student-athletes need an appointment for both medical and strength training sessions.
Q: Will student-athletes’ travel be restricted? (If an SA comes back to campus, are they allowed to go back home, then return back to campus?)
A: We advise against student-athletes leaving campus once they have arrived, but if you do, you must inform your athletic trainer prior to departure and immediately upon return.
Q: Are the UAA staff and coaching staffs being screened and tested?
A: All UAA staff and coaches will be screened before returning to work and COVID-19 testing is available for them as well.
Q: If a student-athlete is coming from a state deemed a hotspot, will they have to quarantine when coming back to campus?
A: In accordance with the Florida state government, student-athletes coming to Florida from the states deemed as hotspots will have to quarantine for 14 days. Visit https://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/current-travel-safety-information.html for more information.
Q: What happens if a student-athlete tests positive for COVID-19?
A: If a student-athlete is living in an apartment, they can self-isolate there. The medical staff will continue to monitor them and provide any support they may need. In addition, food will be delivered to them so they can remain isolated. Any close contacts will be evaluated by the medical staff. If a student-athlete is living in the dorms, the Hawkins Center will work with the campus. The medical staff will continue to monitor them and provide any support they may need. In addition, food will be delivered to them so that they can remain isolated. Any close contacts will be evaluated by the medical staff.
Q: When can student-athletes return to their respective team facilities and voluntarily participate in sport-related workouts? (i.e., basketball – shooting, football – throwing, etc.)
A: The UAA is following state, campus and UF Health guidance to determine when student-athletes will be allowed back into their respective team facilities.
Q: How will international student-athletes be affected by this plan?
A: International student-athletes can return to campus when their team is cleared to come, travel restrictions have been lifted and there has been a confirmation on delivery of fall classes. Federal guidelines at this time have not changed; international students may enroll in 3 credit hours of online courses and 9 hours of traditional on-campus courses.
Q: Will student-athletes be able to still get food or snacks in the Hawkins Center or team locker rooms?
A: Prepackaged shakes and snacks will be available post-workout.
Q: What if dorms are not available and student-athletes have to come back before they are? Or what if their leases are not ready?
A: Residence Halls will be available when student-athletes return to campus. The Athletic Department is working on options in case your lease is not ready