Three days after Texas began welcoming the football student-athletes back to the Forty Acres, school officials announced two players tested positive for COVID-19. The news came more than 12 hours after Horns247’s Chip Brown first reported that at least one player received a positive diagnosis for coronavirus.
“Texas Athletics on-boarded 58 Football student-athletes this week, two had positive COVID-19 PCR test results and one tested positive for the COVID-19 antibody,” said Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director for Sports Medicine & Performance Allen Hardin on Wednesday in a press release to the local media. “One of the student-athletes identified symptoms during pre-screening and was tested before arriving on campus, while the other two were tested during the on-campus screening process. Per Athletics Department protocol, their families have been notified and the two student-athletes with the COVID-19 virus are now self-isolating.”
In documents obtained by Horns247 last week, the Longhorns’ return to campus included “extensive education” pertaining to the new protocols UT officials have put in place to continuously practice social distancing.
According to the documents, football student-athletes were to undergo “extensive education” on their new protocols, including how they’ll use three, outdoor, covered weight rooms that have been constructed at Denius Practice Fields. The three separate weight rooms were created to allow for social distancing as student-athletes work out in small groups on Monday, Wednesday and Friday beginning June 15, which is the first day when the Big 12 is allowing conference members to begin conducting voluntary workouts.
A group of roughly 67 student-athletes — known as Group 1 — was due to arrive in Austin by Monday, according to the documents. The Monday arrival was for student-athletes who were driving back to campus while the players in Group 1 who had to fly back to Austin were scheduled to return by June 1 and were to self-quarantine for seven days upon arrival.
Group 2, featuring roughly 49 student-athletes, will arrive in Austin by June 15 if driving, while those who fly back to Austin were due to arrive Monday and were to self-quarantine for seven days. Group 2 is scheduled to start voluntary workouts beginning June 22.
And the final bunch, Group 3, consists of 17 new student-athletes from the 2020 signing class. Those who are driving to Austin are scheduled to arrive on June 15, while the 2020 signees who had to fly into Austin were due to arrive on Monday and self-quarantine for seven days.
Newcomers in Group 3 will be cleared to begin voluntary workouts after the student-athlete “receives clearance from Sports Medicine team” and completes “mandatory education requirements.”
Group 1 was to be the first to go through the education training on the new protocols beginning Monday, followed by Groups 2 and 3 from June 15-19.
Players will be required to wear “face coverings” at all times during the voluntary workouts, maintaining six feet of social distance with repeated hand sanitizing.
Temperature checks will be required each time upon entry into Denius Fields at a station staffed by members of the sports medicine team wearing appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE).
Players are being told not to “shake hands, hug, fist bump or high five.”