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NCAA releases COVID guidelines for fall sports

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 2:38 PM MDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2021 at 2:44 PM MDT
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(Gray News) – The NCAA released its COVID-19 guidelines for fall sports on Wednesday.

The guidelines spell out the protocol for unvaccinated and fully vaccinated coaches, players and staff that have close contact with teams.

Fall sports include football, cross country, soccer and volleyball.

The guidance comes as the delta variant is surging across the United States.

“Current vaccination rates remain inadequate to provide community-level immunity,” Brian Hainline, the NCAA’s chief medical officer, said in a statement. “It is essential that member schools work in concert with federal, state and local public health officials to develop COVID-19 prevention and management strategies that make sense for them.”

Fully vaccinated individuals will avoid testing unless they become symptomatic or have had close contract with someone who tests positive.

Those not fully vaccinated must test negative twice on non-consecutive days before they can begin training and then must test negative ahead of each game or match.

Teams will be expected to wear masks when traveling together. During games, there are no mask or social distancing requirements.

According to the NCAA, decision-making should be ultimately guided by four things:

  • Community-level immunity status
  • Community-level transmission
  • State law
  • Local public health authorities

During the 2020 fall sports season, many schools opted out of competition because of the pandemic, while others played abbreviated seasons because of outbreaks or because conferences elected to play limited schedules to limit exposure to the virus.

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