SEC adds third test in updated COVID-19 protocols
The Southeastern Conference announced Friday it is strengthening its protocols for managing COVID-19 during the upcoming college football season.
The conference will require a third weekly PCR test during game weeks, managed by a third-party provider. The SEC is also boosting screening for heart ailments, including myocarditis.
“We remain vigilant in monitoring the trends and effects of COVID-19 as we learn more about the virus, and this cardiac evaluation enhances the effectiveness of the protocols already in place,” said SEC commissioner Greg Sankey.
The conference is recommending an electrocardiogram and echocardiogram, among other enhancements.
“We are confident in our institutions’ ability to provide a healthy environment supported by rigorous testing and surveillance,” said Sankey. “Our student-athletes have indicated their desire to compete and it is our responsibility to make every effort to deliver a healthy and medically sound environment for providing that opportunity.”
The SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force’s updated requirements apply to close-contact sports, so other fall sports may not be affected. The Task Force will also continue to review its protocols and potentially adapt them as new information becomes available.
In the testing protocol, players and those in close contact will receive tests through a third-party provider. Players will be isolated for at least 10 days after confirmed infections.
All sideline coaches and non-competing personnel will be required to wear face coverings and to maintain social distancing as much as possible. Players will be required to wear a neck gaiter for use during timeouts or when talking to coaches or sideline personnel.
The policy calls for masks or gaiters to completely cover the nose and mouth.
The SEC will play a 10-game, conference-only football schedule beginning Sept. 26.
The SEC championship game is scheduled to be held in Atlanta on Dec. 19, two weeks later than initially planned and just 13 days before the College Football Playoff semifinals (Jan. 1).
–Field Level Media