Daily Camera (Boulder)

Buffs re­ceive green light

BCPH ap­proves health plan from ath­letic depart­ment

- By Brian How­ell Sports · Colorado · Boulder County · Notts County F.C. · Boulder · Clark University · Pac-12 Conference · Quidel

The Colorado foot­ball team will start prac­tice to­day af­ter re­ceiv­ing clear­ance from Boul­der County Pub­lic Health on Thurs­day.

CU was re­quired to sub­mit a plan de­tail­ing how it would try to con­trol the spread the coro­n­avirus within its depart­ment. Boul­der County Pub­lic Health (BCPH) ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Jeff Zay­ach said Wed­nes­day he had re­ceived the plan, and it was ap­proved on Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

“From our per­spec­tive, our med­i­cal di­rec­tor and Jeff are happy with the plan and have ap­proved it,” BCPH spokesper­son Chana Gous­setis said in an email.

BCPH is­sued an or­der on Sept. 24 halt­ing gath­er­ings of 18-to-22-year-olds in Boul­der to try to con­trol the spread COVID-19. That or­der ex­pired Thurs­day at noon, but two other or­ders were put in place, in­clud­ing lim­it­ing the size of gath­er­ings for those in the 18-to-22 range.

CU ath­let­ics, how­ever, was given an op­por­tu­nity to sub­mit a plan to BCPH that would al­low them to be ex­empt from the guidelines.

“I couldn’t be more ex­cited for our stu­dent-ath­letes and coaches who have re­mained pos­i­tive and per­se­vered through a dif­fi­cult seven months not know­ing when or if they’d get to this point this sea­son,” CU ath­letic di­rec­tor Rick Ge­orge said in a press re­lease from the school. “We’re grate­ful

for the col­lab­o­ra­tion with Boul­der County Pub­lic Health that’s made this re­turn to prac­tice pos­si­ble. We will con­tinue to em­ploy ro­bust pro­to­cols and pro­ce­dures within our pro­gram to en­sure the health and safety of our stu­dent-ath­letes, coaches, staff and com­mu­nity.”

Last month, the Pac-12 Con­fer­ence se­cured a deal with Quidel Cor­po­ra­tion that will pro­vide daily, rapidresul­ts COVID-19 test­ing. With those tests, CU can quickly quar­an­tine any­one who tests pos­i­tive and re­duce the amount of re­quired con­tact trac­ing. That will help to pre­vent a large spread.

CU’S pre­sea­son prac­tice sched­ule in­cludes COVID19 test­ing from 6-8 a.m. each day be­fore meet­ings and prac­tices. The Buffs have 24 prac­tices and 26 COVID-19 tests sched­uled be­tween to­day and the Nov. 7 sea­son opener against UCLA at Fol­som Field.

Adam Mun­sterteiger of 247Sports.com re­ported the foot­ball team will stay at the Mil­len­nium Har­vest House Ho­tel for at least the first two weeks of camp in an ef­fort to mon­i­tor play­ers’ ex­po­sure to those not in the pro­gram. The Mil­len­nium Har­vest House is lo­cated a short walk from the ath­letic fa­cil­i­ties.

Pa­trick O’rourke, CU’S in­terim ex­ec­u­tive vice chan­cel­lor and chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, said Wed­nes­day CU ath­let­ics has used the Pac12’s COVID-19 guidelines as a “base­line.”

“CU ath­let­ics has ac­tu­ally put in a very strin­gent se­ries of test re­quire­ments for stu­dent-ath­letes as a con­di­tion to be able to re­turn to com­pe­ti­tion,” O’rourke said. “We are work­ing with the county and have sub­mit­ted those pro­to­cols to the county so that they can re­view them. We’ve been en­gag­ing in reg­u­lar test­ing and other re­quire­ments for the stu­dent-ath­letes. We’re see­ing a re­ally low pos­i­tiv­ity rate for them and are pre­pared to work with the county and have them make sure that from an epi­demi­o­log­i­cal stand­point that they would be com­fort­able as we re­turn to com­pe­ti­tion and prac­tice.”

BCPH has now de­ter­mined CU’S plan will al­low the Buf­faloes to re­turn to the foot­ball field.

The Pac-12 an­nounced a re­turn to com­pe­ti­tion on Sept. 24 — just hours af­ter BCPH’S ini­tial or­der — with a seven-game sea­son kick­ing off Nov. 7. Teams in the con­fer­ence are al­lowed open pre­sea­son camp to­day.

CU head coach Karl Dor­rell tweeted on Thurs­day af­ter­noon, “1 Day away from start­ing the 2020 sea­son! #Skobuffs #We­back”

Se­nior kicker James Ste­fanou tweeted, “Feels like Christmas Eve… 1 day away #2020 #let­sroll”

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