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Intercollegiate athletics will follow the guidelines of the NCAA, NCAC, and DePauw athletics. At present, the NCAA has developed Core Principles of Resocialization of Collegiate Sport  to be used as a foundation for more specific guidance from the NCAC.  

The NCAC has established a Health and Safety Subcommittee which will define what is recommended and required, from a health and safety perspective, for athletics to occur within the guidelines from campus, local, state and federal medical and public health authorities. Given the fluid nature of the pandemic, each campus will consider its planning across the spectrum of academic and campus programming to allow for flexibility in the event the situation requires a return to more restrictive measures.

Phased Return to Sport

DePauw University will follow a phased return-to-sport approach consistent with NCAA Sports Science Institute guidance.  We also recognize that federal, state and campus directives may influence this phased approach and whenever there is conflict, the more restrictive guidance should be followed.  Athletics staff and student-athletes will move independently through each phase and student-athletes will be cleared by the team physician or their designee before moving to the next stage.

Sports are classified as following for their risk of viral transmission.  Those in bold are offered at DePauw University.

  • Low contact risk: bowling, diving, equestrian, fencing, golf, rifle, skiing, swimming, tennis, track and field.
  • Medium contact risk: acrobatics and tumbling, baseball, beach volleyball, cross country*, gymnastics, softball, triathlon*.
  • High contact risk: basketball, field hockey, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, rowing, rugby, soccer, squash, volleyball, water polo, wrestling.

* The level of risk in cross country, track and field and triathlon are dependent upon the student-athlete’s proximity to other unmasked individuals. For example, the start or finish of a race may involve a group of athletes who are breathing heavily in a group space with a breakdown in physical distancing.

Prior to phase one, all student-athletes and athletics staff will affirm:

  • No high-risk exposure to COVID-19 for at least two weeks before returning to campus.
  • Absence of typical COVID-19 symptoms including, among others, respiratory issues, gastrointestinal problems, fever, headache, fatigue and muscle pain, for at least two weeks before returning to campus.1

Combined with testing, DePauw will ensure that contact tracing can occur quickly and require students to affirm their current, local address and telephone number. 

Special consideration will be given to student-athletes and staff who are at higher risk of developing severe cases of COVID-19, including an individualized plan of safely returning to campus.”(1)

Phase One (2,3):  Voluntary.  Not a part of the NCAA Playing and Practice Season.

  • Allows the student-athlete to conduct training individually, and physical distancing should continue.
  • Gatherings of more than 10 are prohibited.
  • Universal masking, “mask until you can’t”.  Wear face coverings in public spaces, especially indoors or when physical distancing is not possible. Masks do not need to be worn when intense exercise makes it impractical; face coverings are required following exercise when breathing has returned to normal.
  • Repetitive handling of a shared object such as game balls and other shared equipment should be avoided. In keeping with updated CDC guidance, if game balls are shared, this should be done in a controlled manner with strict attention to sanitizing hands, the ball, and avoidance of face touching. It is particularly important to adhere to strict sanitation procedures.
  • Vulnerable student-athletes, athletics health care providers, coaches and athletics personnel should continue to shelter in place.  Vulnerable populations include individuals with serious underlying health conditions such as high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity and asthma, and those whose immune system is compromised, such as by chemotherapy.
  • Specific direction could be provided by an institution’s strength and conditioning coach or other designated member of the staff, in accordance with NCAA bylaws.
  • The student-athlete should be in this phase for at least 14 days, asymptomatic/or improving symptoms for the final 10 days of the phase, and fever free (without fever reducing medication) for the final 24 hours of the phase OR they received two negative tests within seven (7) days prior to the start of phase 2 if they drive to campus. If individuals have flown, one of the negative tests must be after their travel.
  • Common areas such as Welch Fitness Center, the Indoor Tennis and Track Center and athletics training rooms should remain closed or appropriate social distancing and sanitation protocols should be implemented.
  • Virtual meetings are required.  Any in-person meetings should allow for appropriate physical distance and group sizes should be less than 10.

Phase one will begin no earlier than August 31, and gating criteria must be met prior to advancing to phase two. 

Phase Two (2,3):  Athletically Related Activity per NCAA Playing and Practice Season.  Participation is voluntary.

  • Allows groups of individuals (i.e. teams) to begin conducting in-person training.
  • Physical distancing should continue and gatherings should adhere to current DePauw recommendations and requirements.
  • Precautionary measures of physical distancing and sanitization are in place during all athletically related activity.
  • Universal masking, “mask until you can’t”.  Wear face coverings in public spaces, especially indoors or when physical distancing is not possible. Masks do not need to be worn when intense exercise makes it impractical; face coverings are required following exercise when breathing has returned to normal.
  • This phase allows for more organized group activities, and the sharing of common objects such as game balls should be done in a controlled manner with attention to sanitizing balls and hands, and avoidance of face touching. If equipment is shared, it should be done with attention to sound sanitizing practices.
  • Vulnerable individuals should continue to shelter in place. Awareness and proper isolating practices related to vulnerable individuals in residences should continue.
  • Training will be part of a student-athlete’s Playing and Practice Season, and conducted following the NCAC policy and procedures, NCAC Health and Safety committee requirements and recommendations, DePauw University Health Practices Recommendations and Requirements and DePauw Athletics Department requirements, at a minimum. 

Individual student-athletes and other athletics staff should be in this phase for at least 7 days[1]. 

  • Both student-athletes and other athletics staff participating in athletically related activities should be asymptomatic/or improving symptoms for the final 10 days of the phase, and fever free (without fever reducing medication) for the final 24 hours of the phase.
  • Gyms and common areas where student-athletes and staff are likely to congregate and interact, should remain closed or appropriate social distancing and sanitation protocols should be implemented.  This includes Welch Fitness Center, Erdmann Natatorium, and the Indoor Tennis and Track Center.
  • Virtual meetings should continue to be encouraged whenever possible and feasible.
  • There should be little interaction between members of a single team and other student-athletes, in particular, during phase two.

Phase Three (1,2):  Athletically Related Activity per NCAA Playing and Practice Season.  Participation is voluntary.

  • DePauw will maintain its Health Practices Recommendations and Requirements.
  • Universal masking, “mask until you can’t”.  Wear face coverings in public spaces, especially indoors or when physical distancing is not possible. Masks do not need to be worn when intense exercise makes it impractical; face coverings are required following exercise when breathing has returned to normal.
  • Repetitive handling of common objects such as game balls and other shared equipment can occur and contact activities can begin.  Precautionary sanitization measures are in place during all athletically related activity.
  • Vulnerable student-athletes, athletics health care providers, coaches and athletics personnel can resume in-person interactions, but should practice physical distancing, minimizing exposure to settings where such distancing is not practical.
  • Training will be part of a student-athlete’s Playing and Practice Season, and conducted following the NCAC policy and procedures, NCAC Health and Safety committee requirements and recommendations, DePauw University Health Practices Recommendations and Requirements and DePauw Athletics Department requirements, at a minimum.
  • Both student-athletes and other athletics staff participating in athletically related activities must be asymptomatic to remain in this phase.
  • Gyms and common areas where student-athletes and staff are likely to congregate and interact can reopen if appropriate sanitation protocols are implemented, but even low-risk populations should consider minimizing time spent in crowded environments.  This includes Welch Fitness Center, Erdmann Natatorium, Neal Fieldhouse and the Indoor Tennis and Track Center.
  • Unrestricted staffing may resume. 

EXAMPLE:  description of athletically related activity during the phases of resocialization:

  • Phase 1: Field hockey student-athletes are physically preparing their bodies to return to sport. The focus is on personal strength and cardiovascular conditioning. If asked by the student-athlete, the coach can provide a workout for the student-athlete to follow. Daily workouts are in small groups (no more than 10), and don't include any shared equipment.  Participation is voluntary and not supervised by a coach or athletics staff member, outside of normal facility supervision responsibilities.
  • Phase 2: Field hockey student-athletes have returned to campus and followed their institution's return to campus health protocol. Daily workouts can be in larger groups aligned with campus directives[2] and physical distancing should be maintained where ever possible. The coach, in developing their practice plan, should ensure physical distancing of student-athletes, and the wearing of masks by individuals not actively engaged in cardiovascular activity. Most of the practice will be 'team v 0', meaning the work is only offense or only defense. There is continued focus on personal strength and cardiovascular conditioning. All student-athletes would have their own water bottle and ample time will be provided during the practice to get water and refill their bottle. Shared sport tools (i.e. balls) can be used by the group, however strict sanitation procedures must be followed.
  • Phase 3: Allows the team to resume a normal practice plan (offense vs. defense) while still considering physical distancing, the wearing of masks, individual water bottles and strict sanitation.

Student-athletes move through the phases individually. Upon return to campus, all student-athletes who meet the gating criteria can begin physical activity in phase 2.

Should a student-athlete test or screen positive, they will isolate/quarantine per campus policy. Once cleared to rejoin their team, they will follow return-to-participation protocols under the care of the team physician and athletic trainers. This process is similar to general return-to-participation protocols for any injury or illness. They do not repeat the phases. [3][4]

If a student-athlete or coach tests positive, all in-person team activities will be cancelled for at least one day, until the positive case is interviewed and close contacts contacted.  Once the team physician has reviewed the case interview, they will make a recommendation for either continuing or discontinuing team activities.

 


 [1] “Resocialization of Collegiate Sport: Checklist”, National Collegiate Athletic Association. 
http://www.ncaa.org/sport-science-institute/resocialization-collegiate-sport-checklist

[2]  “Resocialization of Collegiate Sport: Action Plan Considerations”, National Collegiate Athletic Association.  http://www.ncaa.org/sport-science-institute/resocialization-collegiate-sport-action-plan-considerations

[3] “Core Principles of Resocialization of Collegiate Sport: Developing Standards for Practice and Competition Frequently Asked Questions”, National Collegiate Athletic Association.  http://www.ncaa.org/sport-science-institute/core-principles-resocialization-collegiate-sport-developing-standards-practice-and-competition

[4] “Core Principles of Resocialization of Collegiate Sport”, National Collegiate Athletic Association.  http://www.ncaa.org/sport-science-institute/core-principles-resocialization-collegiate-sport