Barnhart: Safety top priority when players begin returning to campus Monday
By Keith Taylor, Kentucky Today
Kentucky’s first priority will be safety when student-athletes return to campus Monday, says Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart.
Kentucky will follow the recommendations outlined by the Southeastern Conference’s Return to Activity Medical Guidance Task Force. The university will ensure that proper protocols are in place when players start arriving on campus, the AD said.
“We will not compromise the safety and well-being of our student-athletes in this process, taking all possible precautions,” Barnhart said. “Once we take this important step in returning to activity, we will shift our focus to preparing to return to play and bringing the entire UK family – student-athletes, coaches and fans alike – back together this fall in a responsible and safe way.”
The phased return for athletes will begin with the football team. Players currently in Lexington will participate in voluntary workouts beginning Monday following an initial screening process. Newcomers will arrive on campus on June 15 and the school hopes to begin voluntary workouts for all team members on June 22.
The remaining student-athletes and other sports will be announced once finalized by the school.
To ensure player safety, the following protocols will be in place:
• An initial screening process for each student-athlete prior to beginning voluntary activities that includes antibody testing.
• Daily student-athlete and staff screening prior to entering a facility, including temperature checks and completion of a COVID-19 symptom questionnaire.
• Acknowledgement of vulnerable populations for both student-athletes and staff and following recommended accommodations and restrictions.
• Proactive education on COVID-19 best practices.
• Establishment of single entry and exit procedures and securing other doors to minimize facility use.
• Providing personal protective equipment for student-athletes and staff and setting rules for when masks must be worn.
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @keithtaylor21.
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