Ohio State Will Test Student-Athletes for COVID-19 As Seven Teams Resume Voluntary Workouts This Month

By Dan Hope on June 5, 2020 at 3:40 pm
Antwuan Jackson

Seven Ohio State sports teams will resume voluntary workouts this month, beginning with football on Monday, and all athletes will be tested for COVID-19 upon their return to the facilities.

Ohio State announced Friday that in addition to football's return to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Monday, which had previously been confirmed on May 20, the men's and women's basketball teams will resume voluntary workouts at the Schottenstein Center on June 15 while the men's and women's soccer, field hockey and women's volleyball teams will resume voluntary workouts at the Schumaker Complex on June 22.

Coaches for each of those sports will also be able to return to their offices at the Schottenstein Center, Schumaker Complex and Covelli Center on June 15, joining Ohio State's football coaches, who returned to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on May 18.

Before being cleared to participate in voluntary workouts, all student-athletes will go through the following steps:

  • A physical examination administered on campus by Ohio State team physicians and athletic trainers
  • Education through modules and videos to ensure an understanding of safe physical distancing practices
  • Additional education on wearing appropriate face coverings, transportation, hand hygiene and cleaning and disinfecting at home
  • COVID-19 testing and quarantine for 24-48 hours or until test results are available
  • An online video walkthrough of the facility (WHAC only)

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith had previously said in May that OSU had not received a directive that it would need to have COVID-19 testing for its student-athletes at that time, but now, testing will be required for all athletes before they can return to on-campus workout facilities.

Any athlete who does test positive for COVID-19 will be asked to self-isolate for at least 14 days and receive daily checkups from Ohio State's medical staff. Student-athletes living alone will isolate in their residence, while athletes who have roommates will self-isolate in a designated room on campus.

All athletic facilities will have set times for daily workouts, and each workout window will be limited to no more than nine athletes. Football players will have a designated window at the WHAC between 6:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. for their voluntary workouts.

Each of the following protocol will also be in place:

  • Daily temperature screens and symptom checks upon arrival
  • All doors inside the facility propped open
  • Physical distancing of at least six feet from others
  • Guidelines for use of appropriate face coverings will be posted
  • Hands washed before and after each workout
  • Each student-athlete will have an area on the indoor field with a stool/chair, cleats (which stay in the facility) and training towel
  • Players will dress/undress at their apartments and bring used workout gear back the next day for daily cleaning by the equipment staff
  • Equipment will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after use by each group
  • Hydration stations will have individual bottled water
  • Upon completion of activities, student-athletes will pick up clean workout clothes for the next day and receive food-to-go before leaving premises

Ohio State coaches and staff will also have daily temperature screens and symptom checks, practice physical distancing and wear appropriate face coverings when interacting with colleagues and student-athletes. Coaches will not be allowed to be present during voluntary workouts, but strength coaches, athletic trainers and equipment managers will be present. Coaches are still allowed to conduct eight hours of virtual meetings and film review per week.

Workouts at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center will take place in the weight room, at three different locations on the indoor field and as much as possible on the outdoor fields. Only one entrance and one exit to the building will be open, and hallways will have restricted access. 

Athletes will not be allowed to access the locker room, showers, players' lounge or dining areas at the WHAC, and the training room will be by appointment only.

EPA-registered cleaners and disinfectants will be used to clean athletic facilities regularly – all surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected every 1-2 hours – and a thorough cleaning of each facility will take place every evening. Staff members will be trained on wearing, removing, handling and storing personal protective equipment (PPE), and receive additional training on cleaning and disinfection practices.

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