The University of Arizona is delaying its plans to return its student-athletes back to campus in light of the latest coronavirus data.
‘After consultations with the University of Arizona Re-Entry Task Force, Campus Health Services, Pima County Health Department and other local health care experts, the University of Arizona Athletics Department will pause bringing additional student-athletes back to campus.
The Arizona athletics department says will seek additional guidance from state and local government authorities as to whether voluntary workouts will continue,’ reads the statement you can read on Arizona’s athletic department website here.
Locally, 83 student-athletes had already returned to campus voluntarily. Among the entire athletics department, there has been one positive test for COVID-19.
Statewide, Arizona reported 3,858 positive COVID-19 cases on June 28th, marking its highest single-day total and the seventh report of more than 3,000 cases in the previous 10 days. Pima County now has more than 7,500 confirmed cases.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we have made this decision with campus and community partners to pause our re-entry process,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics Dave Heeke. “The health, safety and wellbeing of all members of our community is our number one priority. We will continue to work in conjunction with campus partners and our local government agencies to support and evaluate a safe and healthy return to campus.”
“Our mission has always been, first and foremost, the safety of our student-athletes, staff and community,” said Dr. Stephen Paul of C.AT.S. Medical Services. “Health and safety continue to be the guiding force in our re-entry process. We will continue to monitor the status and impact of COVID-19 in our community and our ongoing and safe training of student-athletes already on campus. Arizona Athletics will assess when to resume its re-entry process in collaboration with the guidelines and protocols of the University of Arizona, Pac-12 Conference, NCAA, and state and local government agencies.”
There is a spectrum of ‘return to school’ protocols evolving across the United States, with higher education institutions taking numerous different paths. Morehouse College has cancelled its fall sports, but also that BYU, Texas A&M, Louisville, and Delaware have all brought swimmers back on a voluntary basis. Other schools are believed to have quietly brought swimmers back to campus but are not sharing that information.
The policies and procedures vary greatly based on the latest coronavirus data, which is ever-changing both nationwide and within specific states and counties. Just yesterday the University of Iowa Athletics Department reported 5 positive tests among its 22 conducted for the week of June 22nd, bringing its overall total to 17 positives among the 408 tests conducted since May 29th.