Tuesday, September 22, 2020

SEC Task Force Releases Medical Protocalls for Fall Sports

The Southeastern Conference announced on Friday its initial COVID-19 management requirements for the fall athletics season as recommended by the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force.

The Task Force has been meeting frequently since April to review and discuss information associated with the COVID-19 pandemic with a focus on developing policies and protocols to guide membership decisions related to the healthy return of athletics activities, including team gatherings, practices, conditioning and competition, for SEC student-athletes and others associated with SEC athletics programs.

“Our Medical Task Force is producing an effective strategy for testing and monitoring, which complements the vigilant day-to-day efforts of our campuses to establish and maintain healthy environments in which our student-athletes can train and compete,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “Our health experts have guided us through each stage of preparation for the safe return of activity and, together with the medical staffs embedded within our athletics programs, we will continue to monitor developments around the virus and evolve our plan to meet the health needs of our student-athletes.”

The Task Force’s initial requirements for fall SEC sports include testing requirements, procedures for infections and contact tracing, and protocols for quarantine and isolation. Similar requirements will be developed for other SEC sports before their competition seasons begin.

During the season, football, student-athletes and others in direct contact with the program will receive a COVID-19 PCR diagnostic surveillance test at least twice weekly during competition, typically six days and three days prior to competition. The Task Force recommends exploring alternative testing methods that will accommodate a third test, in addition to the two required PCR tests, that will provide for the reliability and rapid response necessary for diagnostic testing in a timeframe closer to competition.

In volleyball and soccer, student-athletes and others in direct contact with the program will receive a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) surveillance test at least twice weekly during competition, with one to occur three days prior to the first competition of the week. The Task Force recommends exploring alternative testing methods that will accommodate a third test, in addition to the two required PCR tests, that will provide for the reliability and rapid response necessary for diagnostic testing in a timeframe closer to the first competition of the week.

While in cross country student-athletes and others in direct contact with the program will receive a PCR surveillance test at least once per week during competition, with that test to occur three days prior to each competition.

On the sidelines in football, volleyball and soccer, all coaches, staff and non-competing personnel will be required to wear face coverings on the sideline and physical distancing will be employed to the extent possible.


Staff Report