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NCAA lays out plan for playing but warns of surging pandemic

ByRalphD. Russo

The Associated Press

The NCAA handed down its latest guidelines for playing through a pandemic while also sounding an alarm: The prospect of having a fall semesterwith football and other sports is looking grim.

If the games can go on, the NCAA says college athletes should be tested for COVID-19 no more than 72 hours before they play, players with high-risk exposures to the coronavirus should be quarantined for 14 days and everybody on the sideline should wearamask.

The nation’s largest governing body for collegesports released an updated guidance Thursday to help member schools navigate competition, but it comes as the pandemic rages on.

“This document lays out the advice of health care professionals as to how to resume college sports if we can achieve an environment where COVID-19 rates are manageable,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement. “Today, sadly, the data point in the wrong direction. If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic.”

Among the highlights of the NCAA’s recommendations: • Test results should be obtained within 72 hours of competitionfor athletes competing in so-calledhigh-contact risk sports, such as football, basketball, hockey and lacrosse.

• Face shields should be integrated into sports where feasible.

• Masks should be worn by everyone on a sideline, including when an athlete moves fromthe playing field to interact with a coach.

• CDC guidelines should be used for determining when individuals can resume activities after testing positive for COVID-19. Time-based strategy means isolation until 72 hours after recovery and at least 10 days after symptomsfirst appeared.

• All individuals with highrisk exposure must be quarantined for 14 days.

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