The NCAA released its COVID-19 guidelines for fall sports on Wednesday, including testing, quarantine, isolation, and other considerations for unvaccinated and fully vaccinated Tier 1 individuals (coaches, players and close-contact staff).
Under the guidelines, fully vaccinated individuals don’t have to be tested for COVID-19 unless they have close contact with a positive case or the team has sustained transmission of the virus.
Vaccinated individuals don’t have to quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19 if they test negative three to five days after the exposure or if the assessment does not reveal a high enough risk. Vaccinated individuals should wear face masks indoors for 14 days after the exposure, even if they continue to test negative.
However, people not fully vaccinated are recommended to quarantine in accordance with local guidelines if they come in contact with a positive individual.
Any players and staff members who test positive for COVID-19, regardless of their vaccination status, should isolate for 10 days and wait to rejoin the team until at least 24 hours have passed without having a fever. Players should avoid exercise during isolation, under the policy.
During games, there will be no mask or social distancing requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. However, everyone is expected to wear face coverings when the team travels.
Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are asked to wear masks and social distance during team meetings, in-person interactions and nonathletic activities. The guidelines recommend vaccinated people to wear masks during indoor team meetings and nonathletic events, as well as avoid large crowds where immunity status is unknown.
The NCAA’s COVID-19 guidelines are not rules and cannot be enforced by the association. The conferences are expected to release their policies soon.
(Photo: Brian Spurlock / USA Today)