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MSU Athletics announces plan for athletes to come back to voluntary workouts

 Michigan State University
Michigan State University (WILX)
Published: Jun. 4, 2020 at 10:40 AM EDT
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Michigan State University Athletics announced student-athletes will begin returning to campus June 15 "in preparation for voluntary summer workouts," the university said in a news release.

The university said returning student-athletes from the football, men's and women's basketball and volleyball programs, will be the first to get testing in order to return.

MSU said the plan to bring student-athletes back for voluntary summer workouts was developed following safety guidelines from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, CDC guidelines in addition to on-campus medical professionals and guidelines provided by the Big Ten Conference and the NCAA.

“We are excited to welcome our student-athletes back to campus,” Michigan State athletic director Bill Beekman said. “Our staff has put together a comprehensive plan with a clear priority on the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes. The strict protocols will allow our student-athletes to safely work out and begin to prepare for a return to competition.”

“In implementing our plan we considered guidance from many experts,” Assistant Vice President for Health Sciences/MSU Health Care Chief Clinical and Medical Officer/Interim Director of Athletic Medicine Dr. Anthony Avellino said. “Our only priority was the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes. Understanding that our knowledge surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, we will continue to monitor the latest medical and public health information available and make adjustments as warranted.”

The university said returning student-athletes will go to the Clara Bell Smith Student-Athlete Academic Center June 15 for COVID-19 testing at a specific time depending on their sport.

The university said on June 22, student-athletes who initially tested negative will be tested a second time.

MSU said those student-athletes who test negative for the second time will be cleared to begin voluntary summer workouts under the supervision of strength and conditioning and athletic training staff.

MSU said student-athletes will be split into small workout groups based on who they live with.

Athletic staff who come into contact with the student-athletes will also get tested, including strength and conditioning, athletic training, equipment and facilities staff members in addition to coaches who plan to meet with their student-athletes.

MSU said student-athletes will be given face masks and will be required to wear them at all times while inside the facilities except during their workouts. They will also be given a water bottle that they need to bring to each workout.

The university said lockers rooms will be closed so student-athletes need to arrive at their dedicated facility dressed for their workout. The university said student-athletes are to bring their dirty workout clothes from the previous day and will receive a clean set of workout clothes for the following day's workout.

The university said additional policies and procedures have been put into place in order to make sure all areas and equipment used are cleaned thoroughly after each workout group, including both surface-sanitizing procedures and equipment misting. The university also said high-touch areas will be regularly monitored and cleaned.

MSU said per NCAA rules, voluntary, on-campus athletically-related activities are permissible. Strength and conditioning coaches and athletic trainers may be present at the workouts, however, coached may not be involved.

Through June 30, virtual, non-physical activities such as team meetings, film review and chalk talk are permissible in all sports up to 8 hours per week with one day off.

The university said freshman and newcomers for football and men's and women's basketball and volleyball are scheduled to return June 29 and hockey student-athletes will come back to campus to begin their testing July 6.

MSU said additional sports will come back at a later date.

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