Syracuse Orange: ACC testing guidelines for football, basketball are critical

Syracuse Orange athletic-department officials had sought a plan about league-wide testing protocols, and the ACC delivered.

As part of the Atlantic Coast Conference releasing its proposed 2020 schedule for Syracuse Orange football and other fall sports, the league has issued absolutely vital testing guidelines for all of its 15 members amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The ACC’s medical advisory group (“MAG”), whose participants include SU associate athletics director for sports medicine Brad Pike, has made a variety of recommendations on minimum standards that each league school must follow as fall sports attempt to return during the pandemic.

The standards, which go into effect on Aug. 1 of this year, center on issues such as weekly testing, the reporting of positive Covid-19 cases, and protocols for cleaning competition venues.

A report that MAG published says that non-conference opponents of ACC squads “shall meet these standards for the two weeks prior to competition against an ACC team.”

MAG recommends that testing is required of all symptomatic student-athletes, even those who have minimal symptoms consistent with Covid-19.

Temperature and symptom checks are required every day for all student-athletes and individuals in contact with a particular team.

Syracuse football players and those “in close contact” with the squad will get tested every week, starting with the week of the first game. The test will get administered within three days of the contest.

For multiple other sports including basketball, all players and those “in close contact” with the team will get tested every week, commencing with the week of the initial game. The test has to get administered within three days of the first competition of that week.

In every ACC sport, all people, including coaches, trainers and other staff members, will have to wear a face covering while in the team’s bench area. Student-athletes also must wear a face covering while not playing.

The MAG report says that for football, face shields are under development and may ultimately get used if proven an effective method to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

The ACC’s medical advisory group has issued guidelines pertaining to Covid-19 for league members, including the Syracuse Orange.

Any student-athlete who tests positive for Covid-19 must isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms or the positive test. A student-athlete who tests positive does not have to undergo weekly pre-competition testing for 90 days, unless the player exhibits symptoms.

A student-athlete identified through contact tracing has to complete a full 14-day quarantine before returning to that player’s sport.

Games may get discontinued for various reasons, such as the inability to isolate new positive Covid-19 cases or perform pre-competition testing, unsafe campus-wide or local community transmission rates, the inability to perform adequate contact tracing, or the inability of the hospital infrastructure within the home team’s state to accommodate for a potential surge in hospitalizations related to Covid-19.