COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State University student-athletes in fall sports can begin voluntary workouts in select athletics venues in the month of June, starting Monday, June 8, when members of the football team may return to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center (WHAC).
The Department of Athletics has instituted numerous protocols to protect the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and staff participating in this phased return to operations.
The organized and safe return to campus is based on the guiding principles from the Ohio State COVID-19 Transition Task Force and its Safe Campus and Scientific Advisory Subgroup. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Ohio Department of Health, on-campus partners, the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference also guide our decision-making.
The principles include education and communications, a student code of conduct, COVID-19 testing and surveillance, systems for tracking, isolation and quarantine, physical distancing, personal protection, mental health, and cleaning and disinfecting.
This return adheres to the NCAA Management Council’s determination announced on May 20 to permit voluntary workouts beginning June 1 through June 30.
The Department of Athletics’ request to return to workouts and bring some coaches back to campus was reviewed by the university transition task force and approved by university leaders. To date, the Department of Athletics is approved for the following:
Before Ohio State student-athletes are cleared to begin workouts, all will have completed the following:
Below are the additional health and safety measures required of all student-athletes, coaches and staff returning to campus in June.
Daily protocols upon arrival
All athletic venues will have set times for voluntary workouts and there will be no more than nine athletes per workout window. Football student-athletes will have a designated window at the WHAC between 6:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. for their voluntary workouts. Additionally:
Testing positive for COVID-19
If a student-athlete tests positive for COVID-19, they will self-isolate for at least 14 days and receive daily check-ups with Department of Athletics medical staff, under the direction of team physician Dr. James Borchers. Student-athletes living alone will isolate in their residence. If they have roommates, they will self-isolate in a designated room on campus.
Coaches and staff
Coaches and staff will have daily temperature screens and submit a daily assessment of symptoms based on the current CDC list of symptoms. They will also practice physical distancing and wear appropriate face coverings when interacting, especially indoors, with colleagues and student-athletes.
Workouts at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center will take place in the weight room, at three different locations on the indoor field and as much as possible on the outdoor fields. Players will enter only through the East Atrium (trophy lobby) and exit only through the player exit near the player parking lot. Hallways will have restricted access.
Areas not available
Student-athletes will not be able to use the locker room, showers, players’ lounge and its amenities or dining area at the WHAC. Access to the training room will be by appointment only.
Because these workouts are voluntary, only sports performance coaches, trainers and managers may be present during workouts. Coaches/coaching staff members may not be present. Coaches and staff can take part in eight hours per week of virtual meetings and film reviews with their student-athletes.
Cleaning and disinfecting
Everyone in the Department of Athletics will be diligent and accountable for the cleanliness of the facilities, led by each facility’s operations staff. Only EPA-registered “cleaner/disinfectants” will be used and staff will receive training on wearing, removing, handling and storing personal protective equipment (PPE), and additional training on cleaning and disinfection practices.
Additional info on cleaning and disinfection:
Student-athletes will pledge to adhere to personal wellbeing and safety and to help maintain the safety of others by following all guidelines and recommendations from state and local health authorities and recommendations of the safe campus and scientific advisory subgroup of the university’s COVID-19 transition task force.