STILLWATER – Oklahoma State has outlined a phased approach for the return of its football student-athletes. 

The outline was created by a task force that includes medical experts and leaders from campus and the athletic department.

The leader of the task force is Dr. Kayse Shrum, OSU Center for Health Sciences president since 2013. Shrum has been integral in developing testing capabilities statewide during the pandemic. Other medical professionals from the OSU Center for Health Sciences included in the task force are Dr. Johnny Stephens and Dr. Dennis Blankenship. 

Dr. Val Gene Iven has served as the OSU athletic department’s head team physician and director of sports medicine since 2007 and is joined on the task force by OSU sports medicine professionals John Stemm and Scott Parker.

Other members of the task force include OSU director of university housing Dr. Leon McClinton and leaders of the OSU athletic department such as Deputy Athletic Director Chad Weiberg, Director of Human Performance Rob Glass and more. 

The outline is delivered with an understanding that elements may be adjusted as medical discoveries are made and new information comes to light from national, state, local, NCAA and Big 12 officials.

When will football student-athletes return to Stillwater?

  • Football student-athletes will return in phases in the coming days.  
  • Upon reporting, student-athletes will be tested for COVID-19 and then go through standard check-in paperwork, procedures and quarantine in order to be cleared in advance of June 15.
  • Beginning June 15, football student-athletes will be permitted to access campus athletic facilities and support personnel for voluntary conditioning and training exercises, per Big 12 guidelines.

Will football student-athletes, coaches and support staff be provided with personal protective equipment such as a mask or gloves?

  • Masks will not be required in the football facilities as long as social distancing and proper hygiene guidelines are followed.  However, masks will be available and their use encouraged. 

When and how frequently will football student-athletes be tested? What will that process look like, both initially and on an ongoing basis once people are here?

  • All student-athletes, coaches and football support staff will be tested for COVID-19 upon initial arrival to campus.
  • Once testing has returned negative for COVID-19, the student-athlete will be instructed to report to the athletic training room and receive standard return-to-campus screening and be given COVID-19 educational material.
  • Repeat COVID-19 tests and additional antibody testing will follow as determined by medical professionals as well as any directives given by Big 12 and/or NCAA officials.
  • Athletic training staff wearing personal protective equipment will perform daily temperature checks and complete a symptom checklist monitoring form for all entrants to the west end zone. This testing/screening will include spacing guidelines and hand sanitization products will be available and emphasized at the designated entry point to the west end zone.
  • Anyone who has not completed the entry protocol will not be allowed access to the west end zone facility.

What happens if a student-athlete tests positive for COVID-19?

  • If a student-athlete, coach or support staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they will enter the quarantine protocol per medical, local/state health department and university guidelines and will begin to receive the appropriate monitoring and treatment from the team physician, athletic training staff and any other medical consultants. 
  • The positive student-athlete will be moved to separate housing designated by OSU for quarantine purposes.
  • Appropriate contact tracing as per local/state health department and university guidelines will begin and all that have been in contact will be instructed to quarantine and have symptoms monitored for a period determined by health and medical officials. Contact tracing will begin with the student-athlete’s cohort/workout group.  
  • After the determined quarantine time, if the traced contact group is not showing symptoms, they will be retested for COVID-19 prior to resuming activities. Upon receiving a negative test, they will await specific instructions from the team physician and/or the athletic training staff regarding a return to activities. 
  • Upon recognition of symptomatic student-athletes and/or staff in the west end zone facility, the person will immediately be referred and directed to OSU University Health Services (or Stillwater Medical Center if after working hours) for evaluation, testing and treatment. 
  • If needed, transportation to University Health Services or Stillwater Medical Center for symptomatic student-athletes will be provided from athletic training staff wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.

What is OSU Athletics doing in the area of hygiene in facilities?

  • The facilities director will coordinate a cleaning/maintenance schedule for the locker room, weight room, training room, meeting rooms and other areas occupied by student-athletes and staff. Cleaning schedules will follow recommended CDC guidelines and best practices to include disinfecting weight rooms, locker rooms, meeting rooms and other facilities between all training sessions or meetings.  
  • Cleaning and sanitizing will be done in all spaces after use by each team.  
  • Medically-advised products will be used to disinfect the weight room, locker room, training room, equipment room, meeting rooms, and any other common spaces in between events. 
  • Sanitization of frequent contact surfaces will be emphasized; including, but not limited to, door handles, elevator buttons, equipment, lockers and chairs.
  • Student-athletes will be instructed on proper hand washing and will be prompted through signage, text messaging, and verbal reminders. 
  • Health and safety signage will be posted throughout the facility emphasizing the importance of hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, and COVID-19 symptoms.  
  • Laundry procedures for shower towels, workout gear, workout towels, etc. are established and will continue to be refined. Laundry will be carefully collected to eliminate excess contact when being transported to the laundry facilities.  The individual in charge of the laundry must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment at all times.  All items will be washed in accordance with health and medical guidelines.   

What measures will be taken in terms of social distancing? 

  • During all stages and across all spaces, OSU will comply with local or state mandated limits on gathering size and occupancy limits. Areas that are congested will be identified and alleviated by queuing and physical barriers will be used where necessary.
  • No unauthorized personnel will be allowed into the west end zone or other facilities in use by student-athletes.
  • A single entrance will be designated. All other entrances will be locked or disabled to prevent use.
  • The training table area will not be utilized as a dine-in option. Meals during this time will be structured/organized through Cowboy Dining using a grab-and-go method at the west end zone facility. Student-athletes will be given designated times in their cohort/workout group to pick up their meals to allow for minimal contact and social distancing. 
  • All on-campus student-athletes will be housed in apartment-style housing, allowing for each student-athlete to have a separate bedroom and greatly minimize shared bathroom facilities, kitchen and common space.
  • Student-athletes would maintain the same workout group in all aspects of the transition time throughout all west end zone activities.  
  • Upon arriving on campus, student-athletes will be strongly discouraged from interacting with student-athletes outside their workout group and encouraged to keep group sizes small when in facilities outside the west end zone, such as in housing areas. 
  • Student-athletes will be discouraged from traveling away from campus once they have arrived and have been screened and tested.
  • It is imperative that all staff and student-athletes continue to follow all guidelines regarding proper hygiene, social distancing, symptom monitoring, etc. both on and off campus. At this time, the west end zone and football facilities such as the athletic training room, locker room, meeting rooms, etc.) are not intended to be social gathering places or used for lounging or loitering.