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Big Ten Outlines Coronavirus Testing Plans, Health Protocols

Alongside its updated football schedules, the Big Ten provided additional information regarding health protocols and coronavirus testing Wednesday morning.

Across the conference, student-athletes participating in “high-contact sports,” including football, basketball, lacrosse, volleyball, hockey, and wrestling, will undergo coronavirus testing at least twice a week. Meanwhile, all other student-athletes will receive tests at least one per week.

Coaches and additional staff members will also receive regimented testing alongside student-athletes. The Big Ten plans to coordinate its testing through an independent, third-party laboratory for “consistency in surveillance and pre-competition testing.”

Student-athletes, coaches, and staff members are required to undergo testing within three days of competition during one-game weeks. When teams play more than one game per week, they’ll be required to test within three days of the week’s first competition.

Those who test positive for the coronavirus, whether asymptomatic or symptomatic, must self-isolate for at least 14 days, while those with especially severe symptoms may need to isolate for up to 20 days. Symptomatic individuals won’t be able to test out of the isolation period.

Additionally, student-athletes and staff members will be required to complete symptom questionnaires before accessing team facilities each day. Contact-tracing efforts will also be implemented to monitor contact between athletes and conduct asymptomatic testing of individuals who may have been exposed to positive cases.

The conference added these plans will change and develop as the pandemic continues this fall. Although the Big Ten knows virus transmission can’t be outright eliminated, it hopes these guidelines will keep student-athletes and staffs as safe as possible.

“We recognize that there is no way to eliminate the risk of transmission of the virus at this time,” the conference said. “These standards are intended to increase the likelihood of early detection and help mitigate the potential sequelae.”

So far this summer, Penn State has provided biweekly coronavirus testing updates to the public. To date, eight student-athletes have tested positive for the coronavirus and undergone isolation periods.

Penn State’s next coronavirus testing update is expected on Wednesday, August 12.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt is a junior majoring in journalism and is Onward State's managing editor. He's a huge Philadelphia sports fan, fantasy football aficionado, and washed-up drummer hailing from Collegeville, Pa. The quickest way to his heart is Margherita pizza. He loves Seinfeld, is really into video games, and would wipe the floor with you in Halo. Follow him on Twitter @mattdisanto_ for bad sports takes or email him at [email protected]

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