SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – Syracuse University announces that athletes will be welcomed back to campus for voluntary workouts beginning June 8th.
Per a school release, players from the football team are the only specific athletes mentioned, but the NCAA allowed all sports to return for workouts starting in June on May 22nd.
Syracuse Athletics is developing a plan in accordance with public health guidance to provide a safe environment for students. There will be immediate testing and isolation of all returning athletes. Isolation could last as long as 14 days until a negative test is achieved.
“We are committed to partnering with health experts and complying with Onondaga County and New York state public health policies. We are confident that we can minimize risk of viral transmission among staff and student-athletes while at the same time restoring some sense of normalcy to our training and preparation schedule. We believe that if we are cautious and diligent, and care for each other, we will be able to keep our student-athletes safe during the summer months and prepare them physically and mentally for top performance”– John Wildhack, Syracuse Director of Athletics, per the release
There will be three phases to the athletic department’s plan. In what is being called “athletic pods” athletes are matched up in small pods first based on initial housing assignments. Ten players will be the maximum amount in each pod as athletes return to campus. Players must keep their contact to their initial pod. The second and third phases are not expected to begin until July, where the smaller group will grow up to 30 athletes and eventually the entire team.
The team will have an Infection Control Officer who will work closely with SU’s Infection Response Team. Senior Deputy Director of Athletics Herman Frazier will be the ICO. He will be the point of contact for any staff member or player that suspects they have been exposed to COVID-19 or shows signs of symptoms. He will be in charge of daily temperature checks and blood oxygen level testing, while also manage cleaning and disinfection of athletic facilities.
“The health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes, our staff and the campus and Central New York communities is my top priority. Period. We will be rigorous in the testing and monitoring of our student-athletes, and my staff and I will be working diligently to educate our team on prevention and detection. We all have a part to play in keeping our community safe and that’s a responsibility I take seriously. My players know what is expected of them, and I will hold them accountable.”– Syracuse Head Coach Dino Babers, per the release
Social distancing will be enforced and protective equipment will be available to staff and players.
The football team expects to begin preseason camp on August 5th.