Good news came on Friday as Maryland announced details for a gradual, phased return for student-athletes and staff to return to campus. Maryland is now able to proceed with Phase 1 activities, focused on “maintaining the health, safety, and well-being of student-athletes and staff,” the school said in their release.
As the team proceeds with individual, voluntary workouts supervised by a select number of sports medicine staff, football student-athletes are permitted to return to campus on June 8 for pre-participation medical screenings while voluntary individual workouts are tentatively scheduled to begin on June 15.
“Our gradual, phased approach prioritizes the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” said Damon Evans, the university's athletic director. “We remain optimistic about the return of fall sports, and this plan will serve as our cautious and considered roadmap to the resumption of athletic competition.”
“We have developed a holistic approach to the health and safety of student-athletes for the Maryland Athletics program,” said Dr. Yvette Rooks, Head Team Physician and Assistant Director of University Health Center for Sports Medicine. “This approach includes diagnostic screening for COVID-19 which will include antibody screening, daily symptom checks, and educational training and reflects our absolute focus on the physical and mental well-being of the student-athletes.”
Details of the measures taken in Phase 1:
· Prior to the return of student-athletes and staff, all facilities will be prepared with deep cleaning, disinfection, and engineered physical distancing.
· Prior to returning to campus, student-athletes must self-report to be symptom-free for at least 14 days prior to return and have had no known contacts with any positive COVID-19 case.
· Prior to the resumption of any athletic activities, student-athletes will be subject to a COVID-19 diagnostic test, a complete physical examination and mental health screening.
· Each student-athlete will undergo a complete daily COVID-19 wellness check prior to entering athletic facilities at a designated checkpoint. This screening will include, but not be limited to completion of a symptom questionnaire and a temperature check.
· Before beginning voluntary workouts, each student-athlete will participate in educational activities to review the recommended COVID-19 prevention best practices and give them an opportunity to ask questions regarding the current situation and hear others’ questions.
· All voluntary individual workouts will be held outside under supervision. The usage of indoor facilities, including weight rooms, locker rooms, lounges, meeting rooms, and dining halls will be restricted during Phase 1.
· Each student-athlete and staff member will be provided two face-coverings, but may also bring their own personal face-coverings. Everyone will be required to wear a face-covering as directed. Physical distancing will be enforced and proper hygiene, including frequent hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers, will be strongly encouraged.
· Strict staff-to-student-athlete ratios will be enforced for all activities.
· Only a select number of staff may return to campus during Phase 1, limited to sports medicine, strength, and facilities personnel needed to facilitate the individual, voluntary workouts.
· All participation in the individual training permitted during Phase 1 is voluntary. No student-athlete will be required to be on-campus for these voluntary workouts.
· Any student-athlete concerned about their health may opt-out of any training, practice, and competition and this will not affect his or her scholarship status.