OU releases COVID-19 protocols with football players set to start on-campus workouts

OU releases COVID-19 protocols with football players set to start on-campus workouts

OU will re-open its facilities to the football team next Wednesday. Players who haven’t already returned to Norman will begin arriving Saturday.

The school says athletic department staff members have been preparing for the return by developing several new protocols in response to the COVID-19 virus.

The protocols have been developed by members of OU’s medical staff and reviewed by Dr. Dale Bratzler, OU’s Chief COVID Officer and professor at OU’s colleges of medicine and public health. OU says school officials have also consulted with industry leaders in facilities management and cleaning to ensure that best practices are being followed.

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Prior to their arrival, each person returning to campus will get a packet of information that outlines all the protocols. The protocols include adhering to CDC recommendations like wearing a mask in the facilities, social distancing, limiting social activity, and frequent handwashing.

Everybody will watch a video that outlines pathways to be used throughout the facilities including single points of entry and exit. Signs have been posted throughout the facilities that feature the correct pathways and CDC recommendations.

Here are a few of the key points relating to the re-opening of the facilities:

• The athletics department will work with returning student-athletes individually. If at any time during the 2020-21 school year any student-athletes feel uncomfortable with any activity due to COVID-19 concerns, they can remove themselves with no impact to their team standing or athletics department financial aid. The athletics department will work closely with those individuals to address their concerns while keeping their safety as a top priority.

• The athletics department is providing a mask for each student-athlete.

• Only medical testing will occur for the first two days of the return. Staff members and student-athletes will be tested for COVID-19.

• Any student-athlete who tests positive will be quarantined in an on-campus facility and supported by OU medical staff. Meals and academic services also will be provided. Staff members who test positive will isolate at their homes. Medical staff, in conjunction with the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), will determine the length of isolation.

• If a positive test is received, OU's medical staff will work with the OSDH and the on-campus Goddard Health Center for tracking and tracing purposes to determine others who may be at risk.

• For stage one of workouts, group size will be limited to 10 student-athletes and a small group of staff members. Consideration will be given at a later date to expanding those group sizes. In meetings, social distancing will be observed with special seating formations and speakers will be encouraged to stand at the back of the room.

• The athletics department has arranged for increased cleaning and sanitization that will include fogging and spraying applications. In addition, staff members have been provided with self-clean kits that can be used in personal spaces. Door tags will be turned to "red" if a room has been occupied to assist custodial staff with concentrated cleaning. All internal doors will be left open to avoid the use of door handles.

• Restrictions are also in place for locker room, elevator and restroom occupancy. All student-athletes will shower at their residence, not in the sport facility. Also, special precautions are in place for serving food and the distribution of sports equipment.

• For student-athletes residing in Headington Hall, a number of the same protocols are in place, including pathways. Occupancy will be limited to two residents. Seventy-two percent of the facility includes single-occupancy rooms. Also, hospital-grade filters have been installed. Shields have been installed in some common areas.

• In Wagner Dining Hall at Headington, all self-serve stations have been eliminated, seating has been re-arranged for appropriate spacing and the facility will accept cards only, no cash.

The athletics department will report the results of its initial testing and provide regular and periodic updates in the weeks to come through its website SoonerSports.com.