Appendix E – Athletics COVID-19 Plan for Return

This set of guidelines is intended to provide a framework of operating procedures and plans for the safe resumption of occupancy by staff and  student-athletes to the Newman Center and athletic training rooms with the eventual goal to return to scheduled athletic activities.

Repopulation will occur in phases as CDC, state, county, city and campus guidelines permit and as NCAA and CACC rules and regulations allow.  The Athletics COVID-19 Action Team will continue to review and make changes to this policy as  necessary.

Athletic Department Staff- During all phases:

  • If you do not feel well, do not come to Caldwell University.  Call your doctor.
  • If you have underlying conditions or are in a vulnerable category you should continue to work remotely.
  • If your work does not require your presence on-site and you are able to work remotely, you are encouraged to continue doing so.  Coordinate with your supervisor.
  • Practice good hygiene.  Wash your hands often, do not touch your face and cough or sneeze  into a tissue or your arm.
  • All staff must wear face coverings.
  • Education will be provided to coaches and staff regarding transmission, use high touch Items, protocols for screening and CU Athletics COVID-19 policy revisions and procedures
  • Protocols will be reviewed frequently and adjusted as necessary.

Phase I

Staff who  need to work on-site may return to campus as University buildings are opened for occupancy.  Student-athletes are allowed on campus for essential services only and visits should be scheduled to maintain social distancing. 

Protocols:

  • Appropriate signage will be hung throughout all athletic facilities promoting health and safety procedures
  • Screening will take place on a daily basis for student-athletes and athletics staff
    • All individuals entering the Newman Center and Provost  will have their  temperatures taken and be subject to health screening.  
      • Those determined to be a risk will be refused access and the appropriate action taken to address the risk.
      • Those who  pass screening shall be identified as okay for the day with the COVID-19 Screening tab completed in SportsWare.
  • Maintain social distancing where possible
  • Supervisors  will manage and schedule staff as needed to maintain occupancy limits and social distancing.
  • Face masks should be worn when individuals are unable to maintain a 6 foot distance. 
  • Face Masks must be worn at all times in the Athletic Training Room
  • No gatherings or in-person meetings with over 10 people are allowed
  • When possible, meetings should be held in larger rooms to maintain social distancing
  • Occupants are not allowed to linger or congregate in locker rooms or other common spaces
  • No outside visitors are allowed
  • Vendors should only be allowed for delivery of necessary items.  Drop offs should be external whenever possible.

Phase 2:  

When allowed by all authorities, limited athletic activity  by  student-athletes may resume.  Additional staff allowed as required and scheduled by the supervisor.

Protocols:

  • All protocols from Phase One will continue unless expressly changed
  • Face masks required in sports medicine area or any situation where maintaining 6’ distances not possible
  • Student-athletes may return for scheduled athletic activities.  Access will be limited to scheduled times.
  • Meeting and gathering guidelines will be updated per guidelines in place by all authorities at that time
  • June 22- gatherings of 250 outdoors
  • July 3 –  gatherings of 500 outdoors
  • Indoor activities are limited to  %25 capacity and cannot exceed 100 people
  • Fitness Centers remain closed
  • No-contact practices for high risk sports(football) are permitted.
  • Traditional practices and competitions are able to resume for medium-risk sports, such as baseball, softball, basketball, and soccer, in outdoor settings. No-contact practices for medium risk sports are permitted in both outdoor and indoor settings.
    • Contact practices are allowed after July 8, 2020.
  • Practices and competitions for low-risk sports (cross country, track & field, tennis) are permitted in indoor and outdoor settings as of July 8, 2020.
  • On July 20 an executive order was signed to allow contact drills, practices, and competitions to resume for high risk sports such as football.

Phase 3

When allowed by all authorities, team practices, work-outs and in-person meetings may resume.

Protocols:

  • Protocols from phase 1 and 2 continue to be followed unless specific restrictions are lifted.
  • TBD

The CACC – July 13, 2020:

  • The Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) President’s Council announced that intercollegiate competition will not occur during the Fall 2020 season due to safety concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was made following a unanimous vote of the 14 CACC institutions. The vote followed lengthy conversations with key stakeholders throughout the conference.
  • The CACC is committed to providing meaningful seasons of intercollegiate competition for all impacted fall and winter student-athletes during the spring semester (commencing after January 1, 2021). Details of schedule formats and postseason opportunities will be announced July 21.
  • “This decision was not made lightly,” CACC Commissioner Dan Mara said. “Our presidents and athletic directors have had extensive conversations about what is the best plan of action for the safety and welfare of student-athletes, coaches and staff. A decision regarding how student-athletes can practice and prepare with their coaches during the fall semester is forthcoming.”
  • Regularly scheduled spring sports are not affected by Monday’s announcement, as they are scheduled to conduct their seasons as planned.

Student-Athlete Return to Campus:

  • All Athletic Department Personnel will be required to review and sign the “Professional Responsibility Statement- Department Personnel”
  • All student-athletes will return to campus on their assigned date and time through the residence life office
    • Student-athletes will not return to campus prior to the general student population 
  • State and local quarantine/isolation protocols will be followed and athlete will not start practice/workouts until requirements are fulfilled
    • Travel Restrictions are being monitored on a daily basis.  Those needing to quarantine will follow university protocol.
      • No workouts will be allowed until a student-athlete’s quarantine has been fulfilled.
  • Coaches will be educated on transmission, use of high touch Items, protocols for screening, and CU Athletics COVID-19 policy revisions and procedures.
    • Each team will have its own document addressing individual needs and modifications
    • Workouts and “Functional Units” will all be tracked and documented 
  • Prior to a student-athletes return to campus they will:
    • Receive and be required to complete the COVID-19 screening tool/ pre-participation COVID-19 questionnaire.
    • Receive and be required to complete the “Assumption of Risk and Pledge Form – Student-Athletes.”
    • Receive and be required to review the powerpoint of COVID-19 educational information(transmission, use of high touch Items, protocols for screening) and CU Athletics COVID-19 policy revisions and procedures
      • An assessment will be required to be completed prior to clearance for athletics activities
      • Each athlete will receive a copy of the policies and procedures
  • There will be an enhanced virtual orientation program for all athletes reinforcing COVID-19 protocols and education material
  • Education will continue throughout the semester 

Athletics Risk Mitigation Strategies:

  • Education
  • Daily Screening Protocols *See Access/ Screening Protocols Below
  • Face Coverings and Physical Distancing
    • Universal Masking in Sport– Masks will be worn by all and utilized even when exiting play for short periods of time to speak with coaching staff
    • Physical distancing will be required when completing workouts that are not in each teams pre-determined “Contact” Phase
    • Outdoor Training– there will be a maximization of outdoor training to all extents possible
    • Working in “Functional Units” composed of 5-10 individuals on the same team, with documentation of workouts will aid in contact tracing efforts

Access/ Screening Protocols:

  • A daily symptom screening will be sent to athletes and staff the morning of their practice
    • If screening is passed they will report to a designated area for temperature checks.
      • Teams will have designated times
    • If symptoms are reported of a temperature is over 100.4 they will be isolated and put into protocol.
    • Individuals must be asymptomatic prior to accessing athletic facilities. 
    • Access points will be designated in all facilities
      • Newman Center- back hallway entrance
      • Provost- BB Coaches Office Door
  • All individuals entering the Newman Center or Provost will have their temperatures taken and be subject to health screening.  Those determined to be a risk will be refused access and the appropriate action will be taken to address the risk.
  • Hand sanitization should occur upon entry and exit of the facility
  • Those who  pass screening shall be identified as okay for the day. A google drive roster will be updated daily noting the individuals  attending practice and their temperatures will be updated daily.
  • Student-athletes shall access facilities only as scheduled and leave the facilities upon completion of activity.
  • All staff must wear face coverings. Athletes are encouraged to wear face coverings during down-time or when not in play. However, it is not recommended that face coverings be worn during physical activity. 
  • Sports medicine staff or a designee  for each building shall coordinate and execute all screening.  They will maintain a checklist of who entered each facility.

NCAA Sport Classification and Recommended Testing Protocols:

  • Topic Still being discussed among conference presidents
  • Low Risk: Women’s Tennis, Bowling, Track & Field, Cross Country(when not competing)
    • Tested upon arrival to campus
    • Out-of-Season- Follow University Plan
    • In Season: Symptomatic and High Contact Risk Testing Only
  • Medium Risk: Softball, Baseball, & Cross Country (when competing)
    • Tested upon arrival to campus
    • Out-of-Season- 25%-50% tested every two weeks
    • In Season:  25%-50% tested every two weeks
    • Symptomatic and High Contact Risk Testing As Appropriate
  • High Risk: Sprint Football, Soccer, Basketball, Volleyball, Lacrosse
    • Tested upon arrival to campus
    • Out-of-Season- 25%-50% tested every two weeks
    • In Season:  Weekly Testing
    • SFB tested within 72 hours of competition
    • Other Sports- within 72 hours of first competition of the week
    • Officials in Football and Basketball Tested Weekly
    • Symptomatic and High Contact Risk Testing As Appropriate

The Framework for Fall Activity:

  • Our goal is the physical and mental well-being of our student-athletes.  With that being said a phased return to activity will help reduce the risk of infection spread as well as decrease the risk of injury associated with a prolonged period of in-activity.
  • August 31st – September 20th: Athletics is Dormant allowing S-A’s fulfill quarantines and adjust to Universities “New Normal”
  • September 21st- September 27th: Educational Presentations, Team Meetings, Concussion Baseline Testing, Outstanding Physicals are all being completed.
  • September 28th- October 11th:  Workouts of “Functional Units” allowed
    • All workouts MUST be documented
    • All workouts must follow the risk mitigating strategies in this document above.  These include: Screening, Distancing, Masking, & Outdoor Training
    • “Functional Units” will consist of 5-10 student-athletes
    • Begin a phased return-to-activity: Follow 50/30/20/10%
      • Conditioning Volumes reduced by 50% in week 1
      • 1:4 Work Rest Ratio
  • October 12th- November 22nd: 
    • Continue phased return to activity
    • All workouts MUST be documented
    • All workouts must follow the risk mitigating strategies in this document above.  These include: Screening, Distancing, Masking, & Outdoor Training
    • Workouts of “Functional Units” will continue
      • Maximum allowed will be determined based on infection rates at the University and compliance to risk mitigation strategies
    • IF sufficient testing is in place and contact is allowed
      • # of weeks of contact allowed will be limited and pre-determined for each sport 

Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for COVID-19 Symptomatic Student-Athlete On Campus:

  • If someone screens positive (using daily screening tool) for upper respiratory illness or reports to athletic facility asymptomatic but has a temperature of 100.4 or higher  they will be instructed to wear face covering(provided if necessary) and self-isolate where they are until further notice
      • Newman Center Isolation Room- Women’s General Locker Room
      • Provost Isolation Room- BB Coaches Office
  • Sports Medicine Staff responding to care of a student-athlete that is potentially COVID-19 positive would use proper PPE and evaluate for the following:
    • Fever 
    • Cough 
    • Chills and repeated shaking with chills 
    • Muscle Pain 
    • Headache 
    • Sore Throat
    • Loss of Taste or Smell
    • Other symptoms according to the CDC guidelines
      • If emergency medical attention is needed, the site specific EAP should be activated
      • These symptoms include:
        • Trouble Breathing 
        • Persistent Pain or Pressure in Chest
        • Confusion or inability to arouse 
        • Bluish Lips or Face
    • If no distress the appropriate University and Health staff will be notified
    • For campus residents, Residence Life will be contacted immediately to arrange for quarantine dormitory accommodations.  They will then remain in quarantine and self-monitor until further instruction is given.
    • If the student-athlete does not live on campus, they will be instructed to return to their place of residence and self quarantine.  They will remain in quarantine and self-monitor until further instructions are given.
  • Dr. Kelly will be notified of symptoms
    • If Dr Kelly feels  testing is necessary he will have them report to the office and be tested for COVID-19
      • Testing will be processed through the primary insurance of the individual
      • In the case of an individual who is uninsured or underinsured the individual will be charged $100
        • These individuals may choose an alternate testing option set up and recommended by the student health center or their personal physician.
      • Individuals must self-isolate until we have documentation of test results
  • Notification of appropriate University officials: M. Corino, Wellness Center, Residence Life if on Campus resident, & Appropriate Institution Administration
    • Positive Cases- Immediate or continued self isolation
        • Individuals will be monitored daily and contact tracing will be initiated by a CU Athletics staff member
        • Individual must self isolate for at least 10 days following onset of symptoms
          • May be longer based on how long symptoms last and symptoms must be resolved without the use of medication
            • In order to return all symptoms must have resolved
            • It must be a minimum of 10 days
            • Must be fever free for at least 3 days 
          • Contacts will be identified (Individuals are contagious 2 days prior to onset of symptoms)
          • Contact must quarantine 14 days following last contact with case
        • Negative Cases- Athlete will be allowed to return to athletic activities if no fever and provides documentation of (-) result and clearance by physician
        • Refusal of COVID-19 Test-  If an individual refugees to get tested after showing signs or symptoms they will be held from athletics for a minimum of 10 days following onset of symptoms and must also be at least 3 days symptom free.

Transition Periods and Return to Activity:

  • Following any period of inactivity due to COVID-19 there will be a gradual return to play protocol that will be followed
  • Protocols will be different based on the individual and whether they tested positive, their symptom severity, or if they were placed in quarantine.
  • Exercise recommendations will be given to each individual and monitored by a member of the sports medicine staff

Cleaning protocol:

  • Hand sanitizer available throughout facilities, particularly by any touch points
  • Touchpoints should be minimized when possible.  Doors propped open when possible.
  • Areas of contact in sports medicine and performance areas must be wiped down with sanitizer after every use 
  • All equipment and workout gear cleaned and disinfected after each use and between workout groups (allow minimum 15 minutes between groups)
  • All locker rooms, meeting rooms, sports medicine and performance areas cleaned and disinfected daily.
    • Locker rooms will be closed until deemed safe.  Student-athletes should report for practices/competitions ready to go.
    • If a changing area is needed it will be designated and appropriate face coverings, social distancing, and max. capacities will be monitored to and adhered to.
  • All common spaces cleaned and disinfected daily.
  • All offices and individual spaces are cleaned and disinfected daily.
  • Benches and other game day equipment will be wiped down after use
  • Soccer Equipment-
    • 2 sets of practice gear will be provided alternated daily
    • Each set will be washed following use
    • Goalie gloves should be kept separate from other equipment
    • Soccer balls will be disinfected daily.
  • VB Equipment-
    • Volleyballs will be disinfected daily.
  • SFB Equipment-
    • Days in full pads will be scheduled and disinfecting of pads will be arranged 
      • Tuesday full pads
    • Mouthguard cleansing education
    • Contacting Riddell for helmet/pad disinfecting procedures
    • Will utilize fogger for equipment sanitation
  • Cross Country-
    • There will be no equipment shared between this group
  • Women’s Tennis-
    • For return tennis balls will be kicked or hit with racket for return
    • Use of hands will be discouraged and limited
  • Basketball-
    • 2 sets of practice gear will be provided alternated daily
    • Each set will be washed following use
    • Basketballs will be disinfected daily.
  • Bowling-
    • There will be no equipment shared between this group
  • Track & Field-
    • Equipment sharing will be limited
    • Items such as batons, javelins, discus, and shot puts with be wiped down between use when possible
  • Softball/Baseball-
    • Gloves should not be shared 
    • Helmets with face guards will be wiped between uses and disinfected daily
  • Women’s Lacrosse-
    • Goggles should be sanitized daily
    • Mouthguard cleansing education
    • Lacrosse Sticks should be sanitized daily
  • Men’s Lacrosse-
    • Mouthguard cleansing education
    • Will utilize fogger for equipment and pad sanitation
    • Lacrosse Sticks should be sanitized daily

Athletic Training Room Procedures:

  • Open ATR Treatment Hours
    • All rehabs, treatments, and evaluations will be scheduled to allow for proper occupancy and social distancing between student-athletes 
    • All inquiries that can take place remotely will continue to do so
      • Upon arrival to a treatment the S-A will go through the screening procedure if not already completed for the day with proper colored sticker showing
        • The student-athlete will immediately wash hands upon entering the athletic training room
        • All equipment and tables will be wiped down following use
        • Each athlete will be assigned their own items in some cases (stim pads, theraband, ect)
        • Hands will once again be washed prior to exiting the athletic training room
    • Practice Procedures
      • Pre-practice treatments will be scheduled by the athletic trainer based on class year or other methods in order to limit occupancy of athletic training room/tent
      • Outdoor Sports: Weather permitting treatments will take place outdoors at the field under designated tent 
        • Upon arrival to a treatment the  student-athlete will go through the screening procedure if not already completed for the day with proper color sticker showing
        • Hand sanitation will occur before and after treatment
        • Once student-athlete has received their treatment they will be asked to leave the athletic training room
      • Post-Practice treatments will be completed as necessary with grab-and-go ice bags or with scheduled treatments
    • Game Day Procedures
      • Pre-game treatments will be scheduled by the athletic trainer based on class year or other methods in order to limit occupancy of athletic training room
      • Outdoor sports: Weather permitting treatments will take place outdoors at the field under designated tent 
        • Upon arrival to a treatment the student-athlete will go through the screening procedure if not already completed for the day with proper color sticker showing
        • Hand sanitation will occur before and after treatment
        • Once student-athlete has received their treatment they will be asked to leave the athletic training room/tent
      • Visiting teams should be screened by home ATC when possible and communication must occur between ATC’s
        • If a visiting team is traveling with an ATC a separate prep area will be set up for them to utilize
        • If they are NOT traveling an ATC treatment time will be scheduled and sent to coaches a day prior
      • Officials will be screened by home team ATC
        • If any official shows signs or symptoms or have a temperature over 100.4 they will be denied access and this will be communicated to their assigner
      • Post-Game treatments will be completed as necessary with grab-and-go ice bags or with scheduled treatments
  • Other Precautions Being Taken:
    • Recommendations will be made to vulnerable populations for further precautions
    • Only an athletic trainer will have access to the ice machine
    • There will be no use of community water bottles
      • Athletes must bring their own water bottle
      • Paper cups will be provided
    • Towels should not be shared
    • Whirlpool swill be prepared for use in case of heat related illness each day
      • If whirlpool use is necessary for non-emergent reason times will be scheduled with an ATC
        • An individual must shower prior to coming in for use of the whirlpools
    • Heating Pads will be unavailable unless recommended by ATC
      • Heating pad will have appropriate cover and will be washed following each use
    • Hand sanitizer available throughout facilities, particularly by any touch points
    • Touchpoints should be minimized when possible.  Doors propped open when possible.
    • All coolers will be disinfected after each use
    • All common spaces cleaned and disinfected daily.
    • All offices and individual spaces are cleaned and disinfected daily.

Athletics Team Practice Procedures:

  • Practices may be limited to groups. Divide larger teams into smaller groups for practices.
    • These groups should be kept consistent and where possible, stagger the practice schedules and practice days.  
  • Team meetings should be held virtually whenever possible. If meetings cannot be remote, they must be socially distanced with general safeguarding protocols in place as detailed in Executive Order No. 155.
    • Team huddles, high-fives, handshakes and spitting are restricted. 

Athletics Game Day Procedures:  

  • There will be no intercollegiate competition until at least January 1, 2021.
  • Visitors guide with policies and procedures will be provided to all visiting teams.
  • Log of all in attendance with phone numbers.
  • Locker Rooms
    • Locker rooms closed for fall sports season
    • All athletes should keep personal equipment with them and should not share with others
    • All athletes should come to games changed and ready
    • Sprint football  will have limited equipment storage and will be allowed in the locker room with limited number at a time 
    • Use of locker rooms/showers for visiting teams will be upon request only and sanitized following use.
  • Game Stats/ Game Announcers
    • Essential stats personnel only
    • Masks Required of all staff
  • Game Day Administrator/Personnel
    • Essential staff and game day personnel only
    • Duties Include:
      • Arriving early for pre-game education
      • Ensuring all protocols are being adhered to
  • Fans- Subject to change based on DOH and NJ regulations
    • To begin there will be no spectators or visitors allowed
    • Once spectators are allowed this will be limited. Must Maintain Social Distancing. Face Covering Required. Student-athletes should avoid close contact with off-campus visitors/family members.
  • Travel Policy
    • Student-athletes will be screened prior to departure from campus
    • Home ATC will be notified of screening completion
    • Bus/Van Capacity rules will be followed based off NJ regulations
      • Face Coverings Required While traveling
    • Appropriate notification of opponents if positive cases arise
    • Meals While traveling
      • Boxed Meals, Delivery, and meal money only.  No stopping for meals as a group.
  • Emergency Action Plan EAP For Symptomatic Student-Athlete on the Road:
    • If a student-athlete or staff member shows signs and symptoms of COVID-19 while traveling they will immediately be provided a face mask and self isolate away from the team.
    • Any staff member who remains with the student-athlete should put on proper PPE to monitor that individual. 
    • Prior to any trips the ATC or Coach must have emergency services mapped out including urgent cares or emergency rooms
    • On bus travel they must be given a single sweat with surrounding rows remaining empty
    • If on a overnight trip they must be given a single room to quarantine from others

Contact Tracing:

  • In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 the Bloomfield Department of Health will be notified.
  • Sports Medicine Staff or other University Contact tracer will begin process of contact tracing for members of our campus community as well as notification of any other individuals associated with the athletic department or possible opponents
    • On-Site Staff Contact Tracers Include:
      • Heather Arabitg 
      • Matthew Cumber 
      • Sarah Quatela 
      • Caleb Skulnik
      • Kelly Sepe
  • The compliance officer for each CACC school will keep records of teams and contact information for all conference competitions. 

Fitness Center

  • The fitness center will remain closed.
  • Ventilation issues will be addressed prior to opening this facility.
  • Once allowed a separate plan has been developed for the use of this facility.