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OSU football: Oklahoma State outlines its plan to safely bring football back to Stillwater

OSU football: Oklahoma State outlines its plan to safely bring football back to Stillwater


This summer, Mike Gundy accepted a $1 million reduction in pay and promised to make positive changes within the OSU football program. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World file

Oklahoma State has worked with medical experts to create a plan to have football athletes return to campus, and it was outlined in a statement released Tuesday.

The plan was created by a medical task force headed by OSU Center for Health Sciences president Dr. Kayse Shrum. OSU’s statement says, “the outlined is delivered with an understanding that elements may be adjusted as medical discoveries are made and new information comes to light from national, state, local, NCAA and Big 12 officials.”

The outline included six different subheads in the form of questions that were answered with bullet points.

Here are some of the major takeaways from OSU’s phased approach to bringing football back to Stillwater.

The return of athletes

Foootball players will start returning to campus in phases in “the coming days,” the statement says. The athletes will be tested for COVID-19 before going through standard check-in paperwork, procedures and quarantine. Every athlete will go through that process to be cleared for the voluntary training that starts June 15, a date that is in place by Big 12 Conference guidelines.

OSU football personnel will be expected to follow social distancing and hygiene guidelines but won’t be required to wear masks in the football facilities. Masks will be available and individuals will be encouraged to use them.

Testing protocols

All personnel will be tested when they arrive. Athletes who test negative for COVID-19 will report to the athletic training room and receive standard return-to-campus screening and educational material on COVID-19.

There will be repeat COVID-19 and additional antibody testing as determined by medical professionals and directives given by the conference and NCAA. Daily temperature and symptom checklists will be completed by athletic training staff for anybody entering the west end zone. The training staff will wear protective equipment while completing the daily checks. Testing and screening will include spacing guidelines and hand sanitizer will be emphasized at the entry of the west end zone. Those who have not completed the entry protocol will not be allowed into the west end zone facility.

Protocol for positive test

Athletes and team personnel who test positive for COVID-19 will enter the quarantine protocol that follows medical, local and state health department and university guidelines. They’ll receive appropriate monitoring and treatment from the team physician, athletic training staff and other medical consultants.

An athlete who has tested positive will be moved to separate housing designated for quarantine purposes. OSU will follow local and state health department and university guidelines for contact tracing. The contact tracing will start with the athlete’s cohort/workout group. All personnel in contact with the individual will be instructed to quarantine and their symptoms will be monitored for a period of time determined by health and medical officials.

If the traced contact group isn’t showing symptoms after the determined quarantine time, members will be retested for COVID-19. Those who test negative will wait for specific instructions from the team physician or athletic training staff for resuming activities.

Personnel who show symptoms of COVID-19 will be immediately directed to OSU University Health Services or Stillwater Medical Center for cases after regular working hours. Transportation for symptomatic athletes will be provided by the athletic training staff who will be wearing appropriate protective gear.

Hygiene in facilities

A cleaning and maintenance schedule for all areas occupied by athletes and staff will be coordinated by the facilities director. The cleaning schedules will follow the recommended CDC guidelines and best practices to include disinfecting facilities between all training sessions and meetings.

Cleaning will be completed after each team is finished in an area. OSU will use the medically-advised products to disinfect its areas. Sanitizing constant contact surfaces, such as door handles and elevator buttons, will be emphasized. The athletes will be shown proper handwashing practices and will have numerous reminders about their handwashing. Health and safety signage will be posted throughout the facility as another reminder emphasizing handwashing, respiratory hygiene and COVID-19 symptoms. No unauthorized personnel will be allowed into facilities being used by athletes.

OSU has established procedures for washing laundry and said the procedures will continue to be refined. Laundry will carefully be collected to limit contact when being transported. The person in charge of the laundry is required to wear protective equipment at all times and all items will be washed following the health and medical guidelines, according to the statement.

Social distancing practices

Oklahoma State will follow the gathering size and occupancy limits mandated at the local or state level. The statement states congested areas will be identified and alleviated by queuing and physical barriers.

Only one entry will be open. All other entrances will be locked. Meals will be organized through Cowboy Dining and will be executed by a grab-and-go method instead of eating in large crowds as a team. Athletes will have designated times using their cohort/workout group to pick up meals.

All on-campus athletes will be in apartment-style housing to ensure they will have their own bedroom and minimize shared spaces. Athletes will keep the same workout groups during transition time throughout all activities.

Athletes will be discouraged from interacting with other athletes outside of their workout group and encouraged to keep small group sizes in areas outside the west end zone. They will also be discouraged from traveling off campus after being screened and tested upon arrival.

“It is imperative that all staff and student-athletes continue to follow all guidelines regarding proper hygiene, social distancing, symptom monitoring, etc. both on and off campus,” the OSU statement said. “At this time, the west end zone and football facilities, such as the athletic training room, locker room, meeting rooms, etc., are not intended to be social gathering places or used for lounging or loitering.”

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Frank Bonner II


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Sports Writer

I joined the Tulsa World as the Oklahoma State University sports writer in June 2019. I'm an Indiana native who attended graduate school at IUPUI after receiving my bachelor’s degree at Indiana University. Phone: 918-581-8387

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