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The Southeastern Conference (SEC) released a statement Friday morning outlining its initial COVID-19 protocols and procedures for the fall athletics season.

The conference's SEC's Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force also recommended that alternative methods be explored that could allow tests to be administered closer to competition.

The group was comprised of a representative from each SEC school. The representative for the University of Alabama is Dr. Jimmy Robinson, the team's head physician and medical director.

Football, volleyball and soccer players, as well as others within the program like coaches and staff, will be tested twice each week during competition. For football, the tests will usually occur six days and three days before each game. For volleyball and soccer, one test will occur three days before the first game of the week.

Cross country athletes will be tested at least once per week and at least three days prior to each meet.

Games could be postponed or canceled under any of the following conditions:

  • Inability to isolate or quarantine based on SEC and government guidelines
  • If tests aren't available
  • If positive test rates reach an unsafe level on the campus or in the surrounding community
  • If contact tracing is insufficient (in accordance with government recommendations)
  • If hospitals are unable to accommodate

For football, volleyball and soccer, all coaches, staff and players not actively competing must wear face coverings, even when on the sidelines. Social distancing will be in effect whenever possible.

Cross country athletes must wear face coverings at the starting line but are allowed to remove them once they are sufficiently distanced from other runners. Social distancing will be in effect whenever possible for coaches and staff, and they must wear face coverings before and after the meet.

In the event that an athlete or staff member is infected, if it is asymptomatic, they are required to isolate for 10 days beginning the day of the positive test. A cardiac evaluation and approval from the team's physician will be required upon their return, and there must an "acclimatization period" as well.

For a symptomatic infection, the patient must be isolated for 10 days upon the first day that they experience symptoms. Before they can return, they have to have not had a fever for at least 24 hours and without the help of medication. The same three requirements for return will be necessary.

If an athlete or staff member thinks they may be infected, they will need to isolate themselves, wear a facial covering at all times, and see a medical professional as soon as possible.

Those who come in contact with someone who is infected for more than 15 minutes within six feet will considered a high-risk contact. They will need to quarantine for 14 days and cannot return to play unless no symptoms show.

Each SEC school must also select a COVID-19 Protocol Oversight Officer to oversee and enforce these procedures.

The statement also repeated the SEC's earlier assurance that athletes who opt out of competition during the fall season will retain their scholarships and will remain in good standing with their teams.

These measures are subject to change as the Task Force continues to gather more information about the virus and how it affects athletics.

To read the entire release, click here. Stay tuned to this site and station for more information as it becomes available.

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