Michigan will join the schools that have allowed some athletes back on campus for voluntary workouts this week, the school announced in a press release Monday.
Football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball athletes will be allowed on campus for voluntary strength and conditioning workouts, returning in four phases. That includes a 14-day pre-report risk assessment, a six-day resocialization period back to campus and daily risk assessments.
All athletes will be tested for COVID-19 and antibodies. There will also be team physicals, concussion testing, sleep surveys, fitness testing, mobility screening, body composition, nutrition evaluations and regular medical testing.
Athletes in other fall sports will return to campus after the successful reintroduction of football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball, per the release.
“We are pleased to start the process of welcoming student-athletes back to our campus through a medical and public health-informed protocol and plan,” athletic director Warde Manuel said in the release. “We continue to take the utmost care to ensure that all student-athletes and staff return to a safe and healthy environment.
“Our protocols and plans have been developed by medical experts from across U-M’s campus, who have collaborated with officials at the local, state and national levels. I appreciate the contributions and comprehensive efforts across so many groups and in coordination with the Big Ten conference and peers across the NCAA.”
Athletes and coaches will be screened daily before being allowed into facilities, where high-risk areas will be sanitized daily. Those who test positive for COVID-19 will enter a quarantine.
“I am so grateful we are able to make our way back to Ann Arbor after all these months,” men’s basketball coach Juwan Howard said in a release. “It has been a very unusual time to say the least. What has been so impressive is to watch, read and have zoom calls to better understand all the efforts and new procedures being made — so many talented and caring doctors and administrators — to ensure we are safe. Make no mistake about it, the COVID-19 pandemic is so much bigger than basketball and we do not take that lightly. We have challenges ahead, but we know taking this first step is key to returning to a normal routine.”
Though the University has not yet announced plans to reopen for students in the fall, allowing some athletes back could be a natural first step towards that end. University President Mark Schlissel has said that if students are not on campus, there will be no sports.
Now, with some athletes back, everyone else will wait.