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Cardinal Football cleared to return

Under strict guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic, of course

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 23 Stanford at Rice - Stanford Open Practice Photo by Steven Markham/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Stanford Cardinal are cleared to return to the practice fields as student-athletes are invited back to campus under strict, rigorous guidelines. In protecting from the coronavirus pandemic that is widely ‘re-sweeping’ through portions of the country, the protocols set in place by Stanford Athletics seem to have a great understanding of what to and what not to do in re-opening campus.

For the sake of not missing anything from their release, here’s the full plan, as penned by the Stanford Athletics Department:

In accordance with Stanford Athletics’ return-to-play plan, football student-athletes will be invited back to campus, beginning today, under rigorous COVID-19 protocols designed by medical professionals to support the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, staff and the community.

Student-athletes will not face any penalty, or loss of scholarship, should they choose not to participate in athletic activities due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The return-to-play plan is a result of ongoing collaboration with colleagues from the School of Medicine and Stanford Health Care, while aligning with current ordinances in Santa Clara County. The plan also adheres to guidelines established by the NCAA, Pac-12 COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee, Santa Clara County public health officials and University leaders. Stanford’s team physicians will oversee the return-to-play plan.

The return-to-play plan is based on COVID-19 testing, screening, physical distancing and the use of personal protective equipment. Each student-athlete will be tested upon arrival and regularly throughout the season. Each day, student-athletes will report their current health status, have their temperature checked and be provided additional personal protective equipment as needed.

The sports medicine team has established procedures to properly isolate and quarantine should a student-athlete test positive. The protocols are based on current CDC guidelines.

Per the NCAA Division I Council’s approved preseason model for summer athletic activities and preseason practices, schools whose seasons open Sept. 5 may conduct up to eight hours per week of countable athletically-related activities from July 13-23, up to 20 hours per week from July 24-Aug. 6, with no adjustment made to the legislated 29-day preseason practice period, which would begin Aug. 7 for Stanford.

Stanford began welcoming student-athletes to campus on June 17, with 53 individuals cleared to participate in on-campus voluntary activities as of June 30. The return-to-play plan for voluntary activities is open to student-athletes of any sport.

Student-athletes will have access to outdoor and aquatic facilities and be permitted to enter the athletic training room and sports medicine clinic by appointment only.

Additional health and safety measures required upon return include: practicing sufficient physical distancing, wearing face coverings, washing hands with soap and water frequently, using alcohol-based hand sanitizer and thoroughly cleaning equipment between each use.

Sports medicine and athletic training personnel will continue to provide remote care and telemedicine visits, as necessary.

The guiding principles in designing the return-to-play plan were to promote the safety of student-athletes, coaches, staff and the Stanford University community from COVID-19. Stanford University professionals, researchers and staff were utilized to frame decision-making while basing decisions on the most recent scientific data regarding COVID-19. Stanford Athletics will continue to evaluate the rapidly changing landscape, while prioritizing the safety, health and well-being of its entire community.

It’s a great sign to see our athletes returning to the field, especially under such strict guidelines. We can only hope that this is the safe way to bring them back and the safe way to have a 2020 season.

Go Card!