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Latest COVID-19 resocialization document addresses summer activities

Guidance emphasizes local decision-making, outlines best practices for return-to-campus milestones

The NCAA Sport Science Institute has released “Resocialization of Collegiate Sport: 2021 Summer Activities,” its seventh publication regarding the resocialization of college sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The document includes the latest best practices on infection risk mitigation procedures and protocols for individuals with COVID-19 and covers upcoming milestones in the athletic calendar, such as return-to-campus considerations.

“Thanks to the distribution of vaccines, the level of COVID-19 immunity across the country has increased considerably, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidance for vaccinated individuals. This is reflected in our latest resocialization document,” NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline said. “However, vaccination levels are still not high enough to reach effective immunity across the country. This suggests virus transmission will continue at the local level rather than large outbreaks across the country, emphasizing the need to carefully monitor local trends and immunity levels.”

The 2021 Summer Activities document was developed in consultation with the NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine COVID-19 Working Group and the Autonomy 5 Medical Advisory Group and takes into consideration recommendations from the CDC.

The latest guidance emphasizes limiting risk with practices including staying home when feeling sick, washing or sanitizing hands, and physical distancing and masking for unvaccinated individuals. Following CDC recommendations, fully vaccinated student-athletes and other fully vaccinated personnel should be able to engage in summer 2021 athletics activities without wearing a mask or physical distancing. The document also outlines considerations for testing unvaccinated student-athletes and athletics personnel based on community levels of spread and immunity of COVID-19 rather than type of sport. 

For college athletes returning to campus, the first two weeks warrant special consideration because students will be converging from multiple parts of the country and other countries, and unvaccinated individuals may be asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic or symptomatic carriers of COVID-19. Considerations are also provided for campuswide immunity and unvaccinated prospective student-athletes visiting campuses. 

Finally, the latest resocialization document also addresses the continued relevance of a transition period before a full return to activity for those with COVID-19, the timing of isolation periods for people with COVID-19, and cardiac and exercise considerations for student-athletes resuming activity after a positive COVID-19 infection.

For more on how the NCAA is supporting member schools and student-athletes during COVID-19, visit ncaa.org/covid-19.