With the fall semester approaching, the Wayne State University Department of Athletics restart subcommittee has established a series of guidelines designed to allow student-athletes, coaches, staff and visitors a safe and convenient return to campus amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we begin our return to campus, our top priority continues to be the health of all students, staff and visitors,” explained Rob Fournier, the university’s athletic director.
WSU student-athletes have recently begun returning to campus to prepare for a 2020-21 playing year in which every athletic season has been reduced as part of action by the NCAA and the Presidents Council. The football season, for instance, has been reduced from 11 games to 10, and the men’s and women’s basketball seasons have been cut by four games to 22.
The protocols, which can be found at wsuathletics.com/news/2020/7/2/general-athletic-restart-protocol-handbook.aspx, outline an assortment of actions aimed at reducing the chance of infection and preventing the spread of the coronavirus:
- Face masks must be worn at all times in shared spaces or within buildings. Each staff member and student-athlete will be provided with three masks.
- All student-athletes and each employee — including full and part-time staff as well as graduate students — must pass the university’s Be Warrior Safe course. The course is available at wayne.edu/coronavirus/warrior-safe-training.
- To report to work, all athletic department personnel, including student-athletes, must submit the university campus daily screener to their supervisor detailing that they do not exhibit symptoms. Failure to complete the form and satisfy each requirement will preclude admittance. Athletic prospects and families must coordinate visits with the respective head coach and training staff to ensure compliance with guidelines.
- Each staff member will be provided a spray bottle for office disinfecting and will be responsible for their work area as custodial support will be limited. General areas will be managed by the university.
- Hand sanitizer will be available in offices. It is especially important to use these supplies after touching door handles and visiting restrooms and exposed properties.
- Because bathroom protocols are especially important as they are high risk areas, single-person use is highly recommended. Faculty locker room areas are limited to two persons. Safe distance by waiting outside the room is expected.
- All shower areas are closed until further notice. Showers should be taken in residence.
- Students who are sick or who don’t pass the daily screener are required to stay home, and those who test positive for COVID-19 must self-quarantine for at least two weeks before they are allowed to use the facilities. In addition, building access will be limited to 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. to allow thorough cleaning, and the weight room will be limited to groups of 10 or fewer. Workouts will be restricted to 55 minutes, while fueling stations will be accessible only during workout period.
Fournier said that the committee, which developed the guidelines in collaboration with the university’s campus restart committee and WSU team physicians, is still reviewing a range of topics and that he expects the guidelines to expand.
“It’s an ever-evolving situation,” he said, “and we will react with best practices as dictated by science and an emphasis on safety.”
Fournier noted that a few buildings on campus are open, though most remain closed.