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As athletes return to campus, Baylor athletic director updates response to coronavirus

Mack Rhoades said 95% of the Baylor football team was on-boarded and 101 have been tested for COVID-19.

WACO, Texas — This week, Baylor University welcomed football players back to campus after a three-month hiatus due to COVID-19.

Baylor Athletic Director Mack Rhoades met with the media over Zoom Friday to update Baylor's coronavirus-prevention measures, now that almost the entire Baylor football program has returned to campus.

Rhoades said 101 coronavirus tests have been given to returning student-athletes and new test results will come back Monday. This comes after Baylor announced Tuesday that of the first 53 tests conducted, three had come back positive.

It also comes one day after Texas announced 13 football players had tested positive for COVID-19.

Rhoades said the athletic department has been working hand-in-hand with its infectious disease response team to constantly update its policies. 

The team meets weekly, unless needed more frequently, to update its strategies to prevent further spread of the virus.

Part of those strategies are baseline testing, surveillance testing and enouraging players, coaches and staff to stay home from team functions if they don't feel well.

Rhoades also said he wasn't surprised by the national uptick in new COVID-19 cases but was worried about what that uptick could mean for the 2020 college football and fall sports' seasons.

"This season will look like none before it," Rhoades said.

He said he wouldn't be surprised to see cancellations or rescheduling of games in any sport, because of the pandemic.

The rest of the school's fall athletes will return to campus in July with fall camp opening July 15th. 

Rhoades said they won't know what a potential football season might look like until that point.

As far as voluntary workouts, which began on the Baylor campus this week, Rhoades and the school's infectious disease response team said workouts are being done outdoors "as much as possible," and staff have ensured a break between groups to properly sanitize any and all equipment that's used.

Those steps could change in some way or another each week.

Baylor Athletics COVID-19 testing update as of June 22:

  • 8 - positive
  • 4 - symptomatic
  • 4 - asymptomatic
  • 101 - negative results

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