Photo by Andres Acosta | El Paso Herald Post
UTEP student-athletes will return to campus for voluntary workouts in phases beginning on June 15, Director of Athletics Jim Senter announced on Thursday.
“It is important for us to bring student-athletes back to campus in a thoughtful and deliberate fashion, one that ensures we are following best practices and meeting CDC guidelines for the sake of everyone’s health and safety,” Senter said. “We know that until a vaccine is developed, we will have to live with the virus and must learn to mitigate the risk of catching it. Bringing Miner student-athletes back to campus is a huge step toward achieving some sense of normalcy.”
The first group of student-athletes returning to campus for voluntary workouts on June 15 will represent football and will number approximately 45.
The football numbers will gradually increase during the months of June and July.
Limited numbers of student-athletes from cross country, soccer and volleyball will be integrated for voluntary workouts beginning the week of June 22. Limited numbers of student-athletes from men’s and women’s basketball and track and field will be integrated for voluntary workouts beginning the week of June 29.
Student-athletes from all other sports will be eligible to return to campus for voluntary workouts starting the week of July 6.
Prior to returning to campus, all student-athletes will need to complete an online questionnaire asking if they have experienced any COVID-19 symptoms over the last three months. All student-athletes will also need to undergo a physical on campus before beginning voluntary workouts.
The Athletics Executive Team has been working with head coaches, Sports Medicine Staff and Strength and Conditioning Staff to perform an analysis of all facilities and determine organization of voluntary workouts including student-athlete ingress/egress, maximum capacity per area to ensure that social distancing is being practiced, and other safety protocols.
All student-athletes will undergo a daily wellness screening prior to entering athletics facilities, at which time their temperature will be taken and they will be asked recommended medical questions.
Student-athletes who pass the screening will receive a different colored bracelet each day that they will need to wear to gain access to the facility.
Student-athletes will be split into groups to ensure that social distancing is being practiced at all times. Student-athletes will be required to wear a face mask when inside all athletics facilities. Student-athletes will not need to wear a face mask for outdoor workouts provided social distancing is being practiced.
All facilities will be marked with signage to specify COVID-19 symptoms, how to guard against contracting the virus, social distancing protocols, entrance and exit points. Access to the training room and coaches’ offices will be by appointment only and locker room access will be limited to small groups for short periods of time.
Social distancing will be practiced in all areas, including the weight room.
While in the weight room, student-athletes will be required to bring their own water bottle and will not share with others. All strength and conditioning voluntary workouts will limit the sharing of equipment, and all equipment will be sanitized following each use.
Equipment managers will wash face masks daily following voluntary workouts. Each student-athlete will receive two face masks, one for the day’s workout and the other for the next day’s workout. All facilities will be cleaned/sanitized following the departure of each group of student-athletes.
Any student-athlete who is ill and/or exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 is required to refrain from entering athletics facilities and contact Sports Medicine personnel immediately for testing.
All student-athletes or staff who test positive for COVID-19, along with those they have come into immediate contact with, will be subject to mandatory quarantine based on CDC guidelines.
Per NCAA rules, only strength and conditioning coaches and Sports Medicine personnel (athletic trainers) are permitted to observe voluntary workouts. It is impermissible for sports coaches and staff, as well as media members, to attend voluntary workouts.