The University of Oklahoma will re-open its facilities to members of the men’s and women’s basketball teams on Monday, and staffers have been preparing for the return by developing several new protocols in response to the COVID-19 virus.
The protocols were developed by members of OU's medical staff and reviewed by Dr. Dale Bratzler, OU's Chief COVID Officer and professor at OU's colleges of medicine and public health. OU officials also have consulted with industry leaders in facilities management and cleaning to ensure that best practices are followed.
All basketball student-athletes and staff underwent testing on Friday morning. Prior to arrival to campus, each individual received a packet of information outlining all protocols — including adherence to CDC recommendations such as wearing a mask in the facilities, maintaining social distancing, limiting social activity and frequent hand-washing.
Each individual will watch a video outlining pathways to be used throughout the facilities, including single points of entry and exit. Signs have been posted throughout the facilities that feature the correct pathways and CDC recommendations.
The NCAA allows men's and women's basketball student-athletes to participate in up to eight hours per week of weight-training, conditioning and skill instruction beginning July 20. The skill instruction cannot exceed more than four hours per week.
Here are a few of the key points relating to the re-opening of the facilities:
• The athletics department will work with returning student-athletes individually. If at any time during the 2020-21 school year any student-athletes feel uncomfortable with any activity due to COVID-19 concerns, they can remove themselves with no impact to their team standing or athletics department financial aid. The athletics department will work closely with those individuals to address their concerns while keeping their safety as a top priority.
• The athletics department is providing a mask for each student-athlete.
• Any student-athlete who tests positive will be quarantined in an on-campus facility and supported by OU medical staff. Meals and academic services will be provided. Staff members who test positive will isolate at their homes. Medical staff, in conjunction with the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), will determine the length of isolation.
• If a positive test is received, OU's medical staff will work with the OSDH and the on-campus Goddard Health Center for tracking and tracing purposes to determine others who may be at risk.
• In meetings, social distancing will be observed with special seating formations and speakers will be encouraged to stand at the back of the room.
• The athletics department has arranged for increased cleaning and sanitization that will include fogging and spraying applications. In addition, staff members have been provided with self-clean kits that can be used in personal spaces. Door tags will be turned to "red" if a room has been occupied to assist custodial staff with concentrated cleaning. All internal doors will be left open to avoid the use of door handles.
• Restrictions are also in place for locker room, elevator and restroom occupancy. All student-athletes will shower at their residence, not in the sport facility. Also, special precautions are in place for serving food and the distribution of sports equipment.
• For student-athletes residing in Headington Hall, a number of the same protocols are in place, including pathways. Occupancy will be limited to two residents. Seventy-two percent of the facility includes single-occupancy rooms. Also, hospital-grade filters have been installed. Shields have been installed in some common areas.
• In Wagner Dining Hall at Headington, all self-serve stations have been eliminated, seating has been re-arranged for appropriate spacing and the facility will accept cards only, no cash.
The athletics department will report the results of its initial testing for the men’s and women’s basketball teams and provide regular and periodic updates in the weeks to come through its website, SoonerSports.com.