Long Beach State Athletics have created a tentative “Safe Transition Plan” for student-athletes and staff to return to campus for voluntary workouts.
When the National Collegiate Athletic Association first announced that voluntary on-campus workouts could resume starting June 1, Long Beach State Athletics Director Andy Fee said that a specific date was not established for LBSU Athletics. This new development is now the next step in starting voluntary workouts.
The six-phase plan, which has not been fully approved yet, was developed by the COVID-19 Athletics Action Team that includes team physicians, sports medicine staff, Athletics senior staff and other departments on campus.
The first phase is the planning phase which consists of everything the Athletics department has worked on up to this point. Creating the plan and submitting it are the key steps to the phase, but Fee said that the plan will need to be approved first.
“The university is submitting a repopulation plan for the campus and we’re a part of that,” Fee said. “We have everything we believe in place. What we’re waiting for is the Chancellor’s Office and then the local public health officials to sign off on it.”
The Athletics department already sent their plan to campus leadership which will be incorporated with the university’s repopulation plan for the entire campus. That plan should be submitted to the Chancellor’s Office by the end of this week, according to Fee.
Phase two focuses on the return of staff designated as essential to the campus, who will be involved with day-to-day activities. This will include athletic trainers and strength and conditioning staff who will often be around the student-athletes.
Student-athletes would follow the coaches as phase three would focus on their return. For the athletes who choose to attend, the workouts would be primarily held outdoors for all sports and will focus on aerobics, biometrics and conditioning.
After two weeks of outdoor training, workouts could move indoors or remain outside depending on the sport and sport-specific workouts could begin. For women’s basketball, that could mean going inside Walter Pyramid and beginning shooting and dribbling drills.
With student-athletes returning, another aspect of the phase includes daily COVID-19 screenings that will be required before participating in voluntary workouts or team activities. Athletes will have to submit an online questionnaire and go through a temperature check to ensure safety.
Phase four will see the five fall sports, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s water polo and women’s volleyball, returning to campus in August based on their respective start dates that the NCAA has set.
The student-athletes living in residential facilities on-campus would be housed together to alleviate interactions with non-athletes. Athletes would undergo a physical and proceed with daily COVID-19 screenings.
The fifth phase integrates all sports teams back to campus when the fall semester begins. This will allow all athletes to complete their physicals as well as making sure all facilities have been cleaned and operate properly.
According to the plan, the Athletics department is anticipating 390 student-athletes but that number may vary depending on the fluid situation regarding international students.
The count also takes into consideration the spring athletes that were granted an extra year by the NCAA due to COVID-19 concerns. The department is anticipating 30 student-athletes to return from spring.
Phase six is the return to competition among universities whether fans will be allowed or not. Fee said that will depend on the guidance they receive from city and county health officials along with campus leadership.
Fee is hopeful that if the plan is approved, student-athletes could potentially return by the end of June at the earliest.
“I think right now if we could get student-athletes back here in two weeks for the voluntary workouts, that would be fantastic,” Fee said. “But it could be, you know, the first week after July 4. We have put together a plan for what it will look like from here until the resumption of school in August.”