Ohio State set for student-athletes’ safe return to workouts
Members of football team start voluntary workouts Monday already tested and quarantined
Ohio State University student-athletes in fall sports can begin voluntary workouts in select athletics venues in the month of June, starting Monday, June 8, when members of the football team may return to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center (WHAC).
The Department of Athletics has instituted numerous protocols to protect the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and staff participating in this phased return to operations.
The organized and safe return to campus is based on the guiding principles from the Ohio State COVID-19 Transition Task Force and its Safe Campus and Scientific Advisory Subgroup. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Ohio Department of Health, on-campus partners, the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference also guide our decision-making.
The principles include education and communications, a student code of conduct, COVID-19 testing and surveillance, systems for tracking, isolation and quarantine, physical distancing, personal protection, mental health, and cleaning and disinfecting.
This return adheres to the NCAA Management Council’s determination announced on May 20 to permit voluntary workouts beginning June 1 through June 30.
The Department of Athletics’ request to return to workouts and bring some coaches back to campus was reviewed by the university transition task force and approved by university leaders. To date, the Department of Athletics is approved for the following:
- A May 18 return to work for a limited number of football coaches at the WHAC;
- A June 8 return to voluntary workouts at the WHAC for members of the football team;
- A June 15 return to voluntary workouts at the Schottenstein Center for members of the men’s and women’s basketball teams;
- A June 15 return to work at the Schottenstein Center for men’s and women’s basketball coaches, at the Schumaker Complex for men’s and women’s soccer and field hockey coaches, and at the Covelli Center for women’s volleyball coaches; and
- A June 22 return to voluntary workouts at the Schumaker Complex for members of the men’s and women’s soccer teams, field hockey team and women’s volleyball team.
Before Ohio State student-athletes are cleared to begin workouts, all will have completed the following:
- 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 to 48 hours or until test results were available; and
- Viewing an online video walkthrough of the facility (WHAC only).
Below are the additional health and safety measures required of all student-athletes, coaches and staff returning to campus in June.
Daily protocols upon arrival
All athletic venues will have set times for voluntary workouts and there will be no more than nine athletes per workout window. Football student-athletes will have a designated window at the WHAC between 6:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. for their voluntary workouts. Additionally:
- There will be daily temperature screens and symptom survey checks upon arrival;
- All doors inside the facility will be propped open;
- Physical distancing required of at least six feet from others;
- Guidelines for use of appropriate face coverings will be posted;
- Hands will be 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 exiting premises.
Testing positive for COVID-19
If a student-athlete tests positive for COVID-19, they will self-isolate for at least 14 days and receive daily check-ups with Department of Athletics medical staff, under the direction of team physician Dr. James Borchers. Student-athletes living alone will isolate in their residence. If they have roommates, they will self-isolate in a designated room on campus.
Coaches and staff
Coaches and staff will have daily temperature screens and submit a daily assessment of symptoms based on the current CDC list of symptoms. They will also practice physical distancing and wear appropriate face coverings when interacting, especially indoors, with colleagues and student-athletes.
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. Players will enter only through the East Atrium (trophy lobby) and exit only through the player exit near the player parking lot. Hallways will have restricted access.
Areas not available
Student-athletes will not be able to use the locker room, showers, players’ lounge and its amenities or dining area at the WHAC. Access to the training room will be by appointment only.
Because these workouts are voluntary, only sports performance coaches, trainers and managers may be present during workouts. Coaches/coaching staff members may not be present. Coaches and staff can take part in eight hours per week of virtual meetings and film reviews with their student-athletes.
Cleaning and disinfecting
Everyone in the Department of Athletics will be diligent and accountable for the cleanliness of the facilities, led by each facility’s operations staff. Only EPA-registered “cleaner/disinfectants” will be used and staff will receive training on wearing, removing, handling and storing personal protective equipment (PPE), and additional training on cleaning and disinfection practices.
Additional info on cleaning and disinfection:
- Dedicated times and protocols will be established to sanitize and/or replace shared equipment;
- Surfaces, desks, floors, podiums, doorknobs and light switches will be cleaned and disinfected every 1-2 hours;
- White boards will be cleaned daily;
- Staff will use disinfectant wipes to clean their work areas, classrooms and computer stations before and after use;
- Carpeting will be vacuumed nightly and vacuums will have high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters; hard flooring will be wiped clean; and
- A thorough cleaning and sanitizing of the facility will take place every evening.
Student-athletes will pledge to adhere to personal wellbeing and safety and to help maintain the safety of others by following all guidelines and recommendations from state and local health authorities and recommendations of the safe campus and scientific advisory subgroup of the university’s COVID-19 transition task force.