The College of Coastal Georgia Department of Athletics will follow all University System of Georgia (USG), NAIA, The Sun Conference (TSC) and campus policies with respect to conducting practice and competition in Fall 2021. The practice and competition start date for all sports was August 1, 2021.
The following is a summary of the guidance received from the USG specifically related to athletic operations. All guidance listed below is subject to change based on recommendations from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). In addition to the sources listed above, these guidelines will be adjusted as needed based on recommendations of the NAIA and/or TSC.
Operating Procedures Determined for all Sun Conference Member Institutions:
1. All athletic operations within the conference have returned to normal conditions and playing rules.
2. Institutions will report any student-athlete who tests positive for COVID-19 to the conference commissioner.
3. The Sun Conference COVID-19 Task Force committee will remain in place in a stand-by status and will resolve situations in which COVID-19 could affect conference competition.
Operating Procedures Determined by the College of Coastal Georgia:
1. Financial implications
a. The athletic training department will need to have on hand a reasonable supply of cleaning and sanitation materials. These purchases are accounted for within the athletic budget. While the health and safety expenses are not yet known, at least a portion of those expenses would be directly related to the number of student-athletes practicing and competing on campus. The expenses should be revised and updated as the actual requirements for cleaning and sanitization equipment and supplies become clear.
b. Increased requirements for sanitation and health protocols may place additional strain on the department’s only athletic trainer. The athletic trainer may require additional assistance to comply with all guidelines, policies and procedures. This could require another part time staff assistant. This assistant would likely spend as much as 12 hours per week at $30 to $40 per hour resulting in an estimated additional expense of up to $12,000. As above, the impact on staff needs to be revised and updated as the actual effect of sanitization requirements in 2021-22 become clear.
2. Initial return of athletes to campus
a. The volleyball team is the only fall-season sport sponsored by Coastal Georgia. Since the NAIA will allow practice to begin on Sunday, August 1, the volleyball student-athletes living on campus will begin their move-in on Saturday, July 31. This will permit these student-athletes to complete pre-participation physical evaluations and other required activities before beginning practice. All other student-athletes will return to campus in accordance with the move-in plans established by Office of Residence Life and Housing.
b. The College will follow CDC and/or GDPH guidelines relative to individuals arriving from international locations. The return of international student-athletes will be coordinated with Student Life and Residence Life. Residence Life will reserve rooms in Coastal Place Apartments for international student-athletes if quarantined is required. The student-athletes in quarantine will be required to pay for their room and board during the quarantine period. If needed, a transition plan for international students will be defined in cooperation with the Office of Residence Life and Housing and will align with the plans included in the Student Life and Enrollment Management section of this document.
3. Practice & competition:
All student-athletes who are not fully-vaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings while in campus buildings. Student-athletes, coaches and staff will be required to wear a face covering upon entering the Athletic Training room.
4. Other Considerations for Athletic Operations
a. COVID-19 Education:
1.) All student-athletes, coaches and athletic staff are strongly encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to become fully vaccinated before returning to campus or to seek vaccinations that are available on campus or in the community.
2.) Any student-athlete, coach or staff member who is not fully vaccinated and who is determined to have been in close-contact of an individual who tested positive for COVID-19, will be quarantined and not permitted to participate in conditioning, practice, competition or other campus activities until the required quarantine protocol is completed.
3.) All student-athletes will be provided information about the updated COVID-19 policies and procedures during the student-athlete welcome meeting.
4.) Other updates will be provided as needed through follow-up meetings and electronic messages. Additionally, student-athletes, coaches and staff will participate in other educational and informational activities in conjunction with Student Life, Residence Life and Human Resources.
b. Athletic Facility Utilization:
1.) Spectators who are not fully vaccinated will be strongly encouraged to wear masks in Howard Coffin Gym and practice social distancing. Signage at the ticket table and public address announcements at the beginning of each contest will remind spectators. Hand sanitizing stations will be available for student-athletes, coaches, game operations staff and spectators at each entrance to the Howard Coffin Gym.
2.) The Coastal Georgia Athletic Training Room (Coffin Building, Room 103) is a Health Care facility, therefore everyone entering the training room will be required to wear a face covering irrespective of their vaccination status. Student-athletes, coaches and staff will need to provide their own masks/face coverings before entering the Athletic Training Room. If needed, students may obtain face covering in the Office of Student Life.
3.) Plant Operations staff will provide cleaning and sanitation of offices, classrooms, common areas and restrooms in accordance with institution standards as/if needed. The Head Athletic Trainer will be responsible for notifying the Plant Operations staff should cleaning/sanitation be needed in any athletic facility. The Head Athletic
Trainer will be responsible to coordinate with Plant Operations for the cleaning and sanitation of the Athletic Training room, home team locker rooms and the team areas of the gym during practices and competition.
4.) Additional cleaning and sanitization may be required for the spectator stands in Coffin Gym. If additional cleaning or sanitization is required, the Head Athletic trainer or other athletics staff will notify Plant Operations.
c. In the Event of a COVID-19 Positive Test:
If a student-athlete or coach or staff member presents with symptoms of COVID-19, he or she will be referred to campus health services for screening to determine if a COVID-19 test is recommended. If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, he or she will follow the isolation protocol outlined for students and employees. The student-athlete or employee will only be returned to full status after fully complying with College protocols in effect at the time.