QU athletics COVID-19 testing protocol explained
By Michele Barletta
In an attempt to return to some sort of normality, Quincy University is following a strict COVID-19 screening and testing process. This process will allow sports teams on campus to practice and compete against other schools.
With the GLVC’s decision to postpone all fall sports earlier in the school year to the spring, student athletes are happy to be back out doing what they love to do.
Nick Chapman is a member of the men’s soccer team, who says they tried to practice during the fall, but a number of positive cases meant the team couldn’t get into any real rythm.
“It’s been a very difficult year for everyone, but at least when I’m on the field, I can forget about everything else,” Chapman said.
Head athletic trainer and healthcare administrator, DJ Elmore, says that she, and her team, have had to adjust to the risk of student athletes testing positive for COVID-19.
“Our jobs have changed and haven’t changed at the same time, we’re still responsible for the safety of the athletes, and now there’s just another aspect to consider,” Elmore said.
The number of duties that Elmore has to do has increased and she believes its the only way to keep everyone safe.
“We’ve had to incorporate disease control, that’s the major difference to previous years,” Elmore said.
QU is following the COVID-19 protocol that is set out by the NCAA and conducting tests according to what is recommended by them.
“There’s three categories that determine how the sports get tested,” Elmore said. “You’ve got high-risk, which is football and basketball, medium-risk, which is those like soccer, lacrosse, baseball and softball, and then you’ve got low-risk, which is golf and tennis.”
The athletes in high risk categories are tested once a week, where the teams in medium and low risk have 25% of the team tested every two weeks.
Elmore says that the only way this protocol changes is if a school you’re playing against has a different one, then you have to adjust to meet their requirements.
“So, soccer is playing Drake this week, and they require the whole team to get tested three times in the week leading up to the game,” Elmore said.
QU has turned towards what’s known as “rapid testing” instead of the PCR tests that were conducted last semester, in an effort to speed up the turn-around time and stop a mass infection on campus or within a team.
Students can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their matches and competitions are likely to not be canceled because of a COVID-19 breakout in a team. Rather, the match-up will be re-scheduled to a later date once students from either team have completed their quarantine period.
“It happened earlier in the semester with woman’s basketball and it said their games were canceled, but they were actually postponed,” Elmore explained.
Chapman says he is extremely grateful for the QU staff members and their work to help them have a season this academic year.
“They do a lot, especially now because of the virus, so I’m just glad that we can play and thankful that they play a role in that,” Chapman said.