HARROGATE, Tenn. – In accordance with Lincoln Memorial University's COVID-19 policies and protocols, the LMU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has announced its action plan for student-athletes, coaches and staff to safely return to campus, practice and competition.
"In all of our efforts, our first priority is the health and well-being of our students-athletes, campus community and visitors," said Director of Athletics Jasher Cox. "We will be flexible, practicing patience and care for each other, as well as adjusting our plans if conditions change." "These strategies will require the commitment and contributions of every member within the LMU community as together we attempt to do our part in keeping Harrogate one of the safest 'small towns' in the country," added Cox. The main components of LMU Athletics' COVID-19 plan for a safe return to campus include the following:
Student-Athlete, Staff and Department Health and Safety Actions
Personal protective equipment (PPE), Medical and Infection Control Supplies
Student-Athlete, Staff and Department Prevention Education and Training
Student-Athlete, Staff and Department Initial and Continuous Screening Procedures
Facility and Equipment Cleaning Procedures
LMU Campus COVID-19 Policy and Procedures
"The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff has been, and will continue to be our focus as we prepare to return to campus and return to competition," stated Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine Donald Grigsby. "We appreciate the guidance of the South Atlantic Conference and the NCAA throughout this situation to best advise us and provide us with recommendations on best practices."
"A safe return of our student-athletes to campus is an important step in moving us towards the fall athletic season, which we are fully preparing for," continued assistant AD Grigsby. "We are all in this together and we are very fortunate to have an elite sports medicine staff here at LMU. From our athletic trainers to the relationship we have with our team doctors, I am fully confident in a safe return to sports. We look forward to welcoming back our student-athletes, coaches and staff to campus."
Student-Athlete, Staff and Department Health and Safety Actions
It is always the desire and goal to make sure our entire athletic department is provided with the highest level of care, which includes following all national, state and local healthcare guidelines and medical practices. It is important to be aware that during the COVID-19 pandemic we will follow these same guidelines and will continue to evolve as medical advances, procedures and treatment plans are developed. Plans and contingencies will be created to help provide flexibility as guidelines from these supervising entities develop.
During this time of development and implementation, we will engage LMU Athletics and anyone that would be included in these areas of providing care or have access to our department and facilities. Besides our student-athletes, coaches, staff, support staff and administration, we will include – but not limit to – medical professionals, Building Service Attendants, maintenance, food services, shipping and receiving, LMU campus resources and others as identified. LMU athletic facilities will be open to the public and operate under strict social distancing and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) hygiene guidelines.
By including all areas and people that are associated with the implementation of return to athletic activities, we will be able to limit any exposures and provide a plan to mitigate any concerns that may arise. We will coordinate with the LMU campus plan to make sure every- one understands and has access to procedures put in place during our return. We will also be continuously monitoring all the medical resources and update our plans and procedures accordingly.
Travel Back to LMU Campus
Any student-athlete or staff member that has not been in the state of Tennessee for 14 consecutive days before reporting to campus for their team arrival period will be required to isolate themselves, monitor their temperature and record any symptoms. This is a current guideline by the state of Tennessee and LMU.
It is the goal to create safe ways to still be active and work within student-athletes' team activities, which will be coordinated individually on a case-by-case basis.
A full team roster and the state from which the student-athlete and staff are returning to campus from has been requested to evaluate, prepare and identify potential various levels of risk that each person presents. This advanced review will help better prepare for individuals returning to campus. It is recommended that teams plan accordingly based on date of return, within the approved LMU and athletic guidelines.
In line with LMU's COVID-19 protocols, all student-athletes, staff and administration must complete the LMU Return to Campus COVID-19 Questionnaire prior to returning to campus, which available at https://www.lmunet.edu/questionaire.php.
All LMU student-athletes will be tested for COVID-19 or must provide COVID-19 negative test results to LMU sports medicine staff.
COVID-19 Screening – Ongoing Screening After Arrival
Each person will be verbally screened by a staff member with appropriate action taken as necessary. Their temperature will be taken each time. (Confidential no documentation)
The screening will continue or be revised as new processes are recommended, or when LMU returns to normal operations.
If there is a potential or identified risk from the screen we will follow the plan set by local public health and our medical team.
The plan for isolation, quarantine, medical testing and treatment is discussed in LMU's COVID-19 policies and protocols, which can be found here. Each case will be handled individually based on medical direction.
COVID-19 testing will be performed, ordered or required when an individual has the signs or symptoms or other circumstance that suggests acute testing be performed. The guidelines will be evaluated and followed by LMU Sports Medicine and/or others they designate.
If there is a confirmed case, confirmed exposure, potential exposure or illness associated to COVID-19, the person's on and off-campus history will be traced based on their input, team activity logs and other information necessary to make the best judgment on level of care needed.
Lincoln Memorial University | COVID-19
SAC COVID-19 Task Force
In March, the South Atlantic Conference announced the appointment of a COVID-19 Task Force. The task force is responsible for monitoring and addressing COVID-19 issues for the conference office and SAC member institutions. The 12-person group includes athletic directors, faculty athletics representatives (FAR's), a student-athlete, coaches, a NCAA Management Council representative, compliance administrators, an athletic trainer, senior woman administrators, and a communications director.
Along with considering how COVID-19 issues relate to the SAC, the task force monitors decisions and actions by the NCAA and public health/government officials. The group has the opportunity to also recommend policy changes or suggest administrative action by the conference's Athletic Directors and Presidents Council, when necessary to address COVID-19 issues for the SAC.
The task force is chaired by Kim Pate, Vice President for Athletics at Lenoir-Rhyne University.
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught