Clemson football and men’s and women’s basketball student-athletes are set to return to voluntary activity beginning June 8. The move comes as Clemson University announced its phased return plan last week, including the NCAA’s decision to permit voluntary activity for all sports.
Student-athletes may return back to the Clemson area June 1 while undergoing a period of social and physical distancing – seven days at home prior to return to the area, and seven days in the Clemson area.
Once this period is complete without symptoms, the student-athletes are eligible to begin pre-participation physicals with Clemson Sports Medicine. This physical includes a test for COVID-19, as well as an antibody test. Student-athletes must also complete a daily screening before entering facilities.
“We are encouraged to begin the first step in the implementation of our Phase I planning, and appreciate the leadership of our University in helping us prepare for our student-athletes and staff to return in early June,” said Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich. “We are confident in our ability to provide a safe environment and have put our energy into that goal. We’re encouraged by the progress and remain vigilant as we begin to welcome a limited number of student-athletes back to our facilities.”
Clemson Athletics has planned a three-phase approach to return, with oversight from the University, as well as guidance from local and national health officials and best practices. The first phase is expected to commence in conjunction with Clemson University’s previously-announced Phase I target date.
All phases include guidelines for social distancing, face coverings, enhanced sanitization, limited groups, modified use of space and other safety measures. In addition to the overarching plan, the department has worked at a granular level with coaching and support staffs, looking at each facility and developing guidelines for those individual spaces. The plans are subject to change based on guidance from the CDC, DHEC, State of South Carolina, Clemson University, the NCAA or the ACC or new medical information and research.
Phase I includes just those staff members directly responsible for the health and well-being of student-athletes, as well as those preparing facilities for Phase II. Sport coaches are expected to work remotely for Phase I, which will last no fewer than 14 days. Coaches may begin activity within facilities in limited numbers and employing recommended protocols with objective-based duties no sooner than Phase II.
Phase II and Phase III each further integrate staffs and student-athletes, and make adjustments to capacities and group settings, as well as facility access. Clemson will continue to evaluate policies and procedures on spacing, contact tracing, testing, and other safety measures as more is known from the CDC, DHEC, ACC, NCAA or other medical research or guidance. No details regarding fall competition are available at this time.
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