Football activities at the University of Connecticut have been paused after six football players tested positive for COVID-19.
According to a UConn Athletics press release, those affected have entered isolation protocol on campus.
“We feel that temporarily pausing football activities is the best course of action for the team and the campus population,” Director of Athletics David Benedict said. “The well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff is our top priority and we are focused on the health of those who have become infected. We will remain vigilant in this area and will take all necessary action to ensure the health of our university community.”
Team meetings will still occur virtually, according to the press release, and strength and conditioning training is permitted in small groups with physical distancing and masking protocols for those who are not in medical isolation.
UConn canceled the 2020 football season on August 5, citing concerns about COVID-19 safety risks. However, student-athletes were permitted to stay on campus and continue to train and practice. In light of these positive cases — the first reported of athletes on campus — football will be put on hold until further notice.
According to the Reopening UConn COVID-19 dashboard, there are currently 12 cumulative COVID-19 positive residential students, amounting to .23% of the residential population. There are also 3 cumulative commuter student positive cases, and 2 cumulative faculty/staff positive cases.
“Any case is cause for concern and new cases were inevitable,” University Spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said. “Which is why the university planned very carefully for reentry and instituted the two-week quarantine for residential students before classes begin.”
The university has a clear policy for contact tracing, quarantining and retesting, according to Reitz. Students are living in “family units” or “pods” to ensure that outbreaks are contained within those groups.
“In the case of the football players, this is a cluster of new cases among students in close contact with one another in shared living spaces, which we are able to identify, contain and isolate within one cluster,” Reitz said.