NCAA Football: Georgia State at Memphis

Sep 14, 2018; Memphis, TN, USA; Georgia State Panthers head coach Shawn Elliott before the game against the Memphis Tigers at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Georgia State Department of Athletics announced Friday, in accordance with the University System of Georgia, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s office and public health officials, its plan to start reopening on Monday, June 1.

A maximum of 64 football players will be allowed to voluntarily return to campus on Monday. The safety of student-athletes and staff will remain the No. 1 priority and policies will include:

• Small group workouts with eight players and two members of the strength and conditioning staff per group.

• Specific time to report and be let into the facility.

• After two weeks, the department will re-evaluate for possible increase in workout group size and voluntary player-led on-field drills.

• Student-athletes have already been a part of a video meeting earlier this week to discuss expectations for adhering to prevention strategies and protocols for entering the facility, working out, and exiting the facility.

All student-athletes returning will be subject to daily COVID-19 screenings to ensure the safety of both players and staff. The medical aspects of the return include:

• All players will undergo a medical screening upon return — COVID-19 and general health.

• Daily COVID-19 screenings — temperature checks and COVID-19 questions.

• Will work with lab on campus to conduct baseline and as-needed COVID-19 testing.

• Athletic training treatments and rehabilitations structured and by appointment.

• Emphasis on staying home when feeling ill, call sports medicine staff to report illness.

• Masks are strongly encouraged for staff, mandatory for sports medicine staff and coaches (strength) when in direct contact with student-athletes, encouraged for student-athletes but not when training.

As part of the plan to return, the athletics department formed a “Return to Campus Group” that includes both internal members of the staff from administration, sports medicine, coaches, as well as facilities and operations, along with an external group that included team physicians, the faculty athletic representative and the legal department.

There will be a staggered return for members of the athletics department staff, and telecommuting will still be recommended for most of the department. Enhanced cleaning protocols have been implemented, including hand sanitizer stations throughout all Georgia State athletics facilities.

Finally, a student-athlete initiative was launched — Fight COVID-19 with S.W.A.G.G.

• Stay away from sick people and large crowds.

• Wash your hands often.

• Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose.

• Guard your face with a mask.

• Get checked out if you are sick.

“Surrounded by some incredibly smart and hard-working individuals, we have put in place a flexible plan to safely start the return of some of our student-athletes to campus for voluntary activities,” Georgia State athletic director Charlie Cobb said. “Three months ago, we could not have guessed the challenges that we have faced, but I am very proud of our coaches, staff, and student athletes. We are taking a cautious approach to hopefully build towards sports in the fall semester; however, we will follow the guidance of campus leadership in doing so.

“I am also incredibly grateful to the medical professionals and individuals that will allow us to test for COVID-19 within our own campus. Georgia State University scientists are on the frontlines of creating testing and ways to fight COVID-19 and are a significant reason why we can take this first step.”

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