SEC announces initial COVID-19 safety protocols

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Knoxville, Tenn. (WATE) – The Southeastern Conference has announced its initial COVID-19 management requirements for the fall athletics season.

The SEC will coordinate testing through a third-party provider to ensure consistency in pre-competition testing. In football, soccer, and volleyball student-athletes and those in direct contact with student-athletes will receive a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test at least twice a week during competition. In football, testing will typically be done six days and three days prior to competition.

Cross County athletes will receive a PCR test at least once a week, with that test to occur three days prior to each competition. Those with direct contact to cross country athletes will also be tested weekly.

The SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force will recommend universities explore alternative testing methods to accommodate a third weekly test, in addition to the two PCR tests.

Anyone who tests positive will be required to isolate for at least 10 days. When returning to activity following isolation, athletes will be required to undergo a cardiac evaluation, receive team physician’s clearance, and will need a period of acclimatization.

Those presumed to have been infected will be required to isolate and be tested.

Those that have been exposed to COVID-19 but haven’t tested positive will be required to quarantine for 14 days, per national guidelines. Athletes who already positive for COVID-19 before will not be required to quarantine.

In football, soccer, and volleyball all staff and non-competing personnel will be required to wear face coverings on the sidelines and physical distance as much as possible.

The SEC is also requiring member schools to designate a COVID-19 Protocol Oversight Officer who will be responsible for education and ensuring compliance with the SEC’s COVID-19 management requirements.

Requirements and testing strategies will be reviewed and updated by the task force as new information becomes available. A preseason report from the task force is expected to be released by August 31.

The full SEC Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force Requirements for COVID-19 Management of Fall Sports can be found here.

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