SALUQI ATHLETICS RETURN TO PLAY PLAN

The health and safety of Southwest Tennessee Community College athletes are a top priority. Saluqi Athletics operates under the auspices of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA). In accordance with NJCAA and TCCAA recommendations regarding COVID-19 protocols and competition, all Southwest athletic competitions are postponed until the spring sports season that begins January 4, 2021.

Southwest is operating in Phase III of the pandemic contingency plan outlined below, which means student-athletes are allowed to participate in on-campus practices and scrimmages this fall through Nov. 15 on a limited basis.  Baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, and softball begin in January and the women’s soccer season resumes March 15.  

PANDEMIC CONTINGENCY PLAN

Background

Southwest student-athletes integral to Southwest success.  This Return to Play Plan is designed to outline the safety protocols implemented to mitigate the spread of disease at Southwest and among the College’s student-athletes, in particular.

COVID-19 Impact

Saluqi Athletics, like all intercollegiate, high school and professional sports, saw athletic participation come to an immediate halt due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the spring semester of 2020.  The pandemic has presented unheralded challenges that Southwest must face head on as the health and safety of all students and the communities they represent are paramount. As a result, Saluqi Athletics has made adjustments that focus on the ultimate goal and mission of Southwest while continuing to nurture the spirit of athletic competition, despite the changes that must take place to protect the athletes, the entire Southwest community and the greater Mid-South.

General Considerations

  • Student-athletes are first and foremost students in pursuit of an academic degree.
  • Athletic participation aligns with institutional, CDC, federal, state, and local public health guidelines and requirements. 
  • Athletic season beginning and ending times will correspond with the NJCAA established schedule.
  • All student-athletes are to have a physical prior to practice and participation (NJCAA rule).  A COVID-19 test should be a component of the student-athlete’s physical.  The COVID-19 test should be as close to the first date of practice as possible.
  • An athletic department shall establish a Pandemic/COVID-19 Planning/Action Task Force to complement the institutional Pandemic/COVID-19 Action Plan. (Athletic Department Plan has been established.)
  • Athletic trainers will have appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • All student-athletes are tested (temperature checked) prior to each team meeting, practice, or game.  A COVID-19 screening form or system assessment form should be utilized in conjunction with each temperature check.
  • If an institution is closed to students and staff as a result of COVID -19, Saluqi Athletics will be discontinued until such time the college reopens. Regarding holiday closure, athletics will follow normal institutional practice.
  • In the event the State of Tennessee, The Tennessee Board of Regents, or the TCCAA President’s Council/Commissioner deem athletic activity unsafe in Tennessee, athletic activity will cease, regardless of the designated NJCAA season schedule.

PHASE I


Conditions

This Plan is activated when public health authorities, CDC, State, and local health departments require shelter in place, or when shelter in place is lifted, but group activities are prohibited and institutions are closed.

Plan

  • Student-athletes work out at home using their own equipment.
  • Coaching occurs virtually.
  • No coaches or other athletes allowed on property owned or operated by the college.
  • Student-athletes and coaches are reminded of the importance of rigorous, frequent cleaning of living space and athletic equipment.
  • College community is reminded to only leave their home for essential work or errands and to follow infection prevention measures when in public.

PHASE II


September 25 – October 5 (Saluqi Athletics teams engage in practice and limited scrimmages.)

Conditions

Public health authorities allow small group activities and institutions are open on a limited basis.

Plan

Criteria for participation in athletic activities (includes athletes, coaches and staff):

  • A recent COVID-19/pandemic test with a note from the student-athlete’s physician that the student-athlete is cleared to participate in practice is required.
  • No signs or symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days and student-athlete “passes” the screening or assessment form.
  • No close, sustained contact with anyone who is sick within 14 days of the beginning of practice.
  • Small group practices – student-athletes who live together practice together.
  • Temperatures of athletes and coaching staff, along with the COVID-19 screening or assessment form, are checked daily prior to practice (Healthy Roster).  If temperature or symptoms are present, the student-athlete is to follow institutional guidelines regarding COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Athletes and athletic staff are COVID-19/pandemic tested as symptoms appear, and prior to the start of each semester.
  • Appropriate infection prevention supplies are present in multiple targeted areas (e.g., hand sanitizer, facial tissues, facial coverings, etc.).
  • Small group practice sessions should take place, when practical for practicing sports skills, outside in an area where social distancing can be maintained, if possible.
  • Student-athletes should use their own equipment and avoid touching each other with their hands.
  • Student-athletes should use their own water bottle, towel, personal hygiene products (e.g., soap, deodorant, etc.)
  • Rigorous, frequent cleaning schedule/protocol of equipment with disinfectant before, during, and after practice.
  • Student-athletes and coaching/athletic staff should be wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) (e.g. face mask, etc.) except when participating in athletic performance.
  • Coaching can occur onsite, but coaches must maintain social distancing from all participants.

Locker Rooms

  • Southwest will not utilize the locker rooms in the Verties Sails building during the fall term.

Weight Room

  • The number of student-athletes that can be in the weight room at the same time is limited to promote social distancing that meets CDC standards.
  • At the completion of the workout, the equipment will be sanitized prior to the next group. Coaches and staff will ensure sanitation is completed between workouts.
  • A coach or recognized staff member must be present to ensure social distancing is practiced and sanitation is performed.

Games (If Allowable)

  • Until social distancing restrictions are eliminated or changed, no spectators will be allowed.  Only teams, coaches, score table personnel, officials, and appropriate college personnel are permitted to be present.  No concessions.  IF spectators are allowed masks must be worn and social distancing practiced.
  • No overnight travel games, with the exception of the regional tournament.
  • Prior to all games and prior to departure, the traveling team will check temperatures and utilize the COVID-19 screening or assessment form for all participants, coaches, and traveling staff.  Similarly, the host institution will have all participant’s temperatures checked and COVID-19 screening or assessment forms reviewed upon appearing for the contest.
  • TCCAA conference schedule will be modified to accommodate no overnight travel.  Rankings and seeding would be based on percentage of TCCAA Conference Games played.
  • The Dyersburg, Southwest, and Jackson series versus Chattanooga, Cleveland, Roane, and Walters would not be played home and home for Men’s and Women’s Basketball. Some teams in the central part of the state may be able to play everyone.  (Travel distance should be a maximum of 4 hours one way).
  • Absent overnight travel, Baseball and Softball will play double-header home and home games (Saturdays).  Southwest, Dyersburg, Jackson, Columbia, Vol (west) and Walters, Roane, Chattanooga, Cleveland, and Motlow (east): If East and West games are instituted, an additional game (3) will be added to the Conference schedule. The Region Tournament will only consist of the “East” and “West” winner to be held at a neutral site.
  • Soccer, Volleyball, Cross Country, and Golf schedules are unchanged.  If out of state travel is prohibited, additional conference games will be developed for the schedule. Travel is limited to 4 hours for nonconference games.
  • Basketball, Soccer, and Volleyball teams will sit on opposite sides of the gym/field, (bleachers remained pushed in). Institutions will coordinate with officials/referees for recognizing substitutions.
  • No pre or post game handshakes or contact.  However, following games or matches, teams will face each other and recognize each other via a wave, bow, salute, etc.  We will still recognize sportsmanship.
  • Balls will be changed at time outs in Basketball; change of possession in Volleyball; and out of bounds in Soccer.  Baseball and Softball balls are exchanged through regular play (foul balls, etc.)
  • Hand sanitizer will be available on all benches.
  • Water coolers with disposable cups or individual water bottles are allowed on the sidelines.
  • Players should have their own individual towel provided by their team.
  • Travel recommendation – only 1 person for 2 seats. If permissible, skip a row between players.
  • Pre- and post- game meals will be preordered and “pick-up” only.

Positive Test

  • Should a student-athlete test positive for the pandemic virus, the athlete and entire team shall be quarantined according to CDC standards.  If teams travel together, both teams shall be quarantined. 
  • Due to medical confidentiality restrictions, the institution/coach will not name the individual with a positive test result.
  • All scheduled games during a quarantine period will count as “no contest.”  Rankings will be on a percentage basis. Sports committees will develop a revised Conference Schedule and establish criteria for determining cancelled games.  Revised schedules will be sent to the Athletic Directors and Presidents for approval.
  • Should a student-athlete test positive during regular season play, institutions shall notify all opponents within a two-week schedule.  Affected TCCAA institutions shall also quarantine their affected teams for the CDC recommended allotted timeframe.

NJCAA Region/District Representative

In the event the Region/District Tournament cannot be played, the TCCAA Regular Season Champion will be declared the NJCAA National Tournament representative.  Should two teams tie for the Regular Season Championship, a single playoff game at a neutral site will determine the representative

PHASE III


Conditions

  • Public health authorities allow institutions and other business-related functions to open, group size maximum is 50.
  • Colleges are open – classes, hybrid, online.
  • CDC and State social distancing rules are in effect.
  • State has some travel restriction.
  • No schedule or policy changes in the NJCAA.

Plan

Criteria for participation in practice and games (includes athletes, coaches and staff) include:

  • No signs or symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days, including all temperature checks and screening or assessment forms indicating good health. 
  • If the person has had a case of documented COVID-19 infection, they need a note from their doctor indicating they are cleared to participate in training
  • No close sustained contact with anyone who is sick within 14 days of beginning group training
  • A recent COVID-19/pandemic test or a note from their physician that the student-athlete is cleared to participate in practice.
  • No signs or symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
  • Temperatures are checked daily prior to practice, and athletes are asked about any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 via the screening or assessment form.  If temperature or symptoms are present, If temperature or symptoms are present, the student-athlete is to follow institutional guidelines regarding COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Athletes and athletic staff are COVID-19/pandemic tested as symptoms appear, and prior to the start of each semester.
  • Appropriate infection prevention supplies are present in multiple targeted areas (e.g., hand sanitizer, facial tissues, facial coverings, etc.).
  • Athletes may use institutional equipment, but equipment should be cleaned between use.
  • Athletes should continue to use their own water bottle, towel, personal hygiene products (e.g., soap, deodorant, etc.)
  • Activities with direct (e.g., soccer) or indirect (e.g., volleyball, basketball) can resume
  • Rigorous, frequent cleaning schedule/protocol of equipment with disinfectant before, during, and after training should continue* including wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). (e.g., face mask, etc.)
  • The TCCAA schedule remains in effect according to the NJCAA.
  • All student-athletes are virus tested prior to the first day of college/practice.
  • Temperatures are checked and screening or assessment forms completed prior to each practice.
  • COVID-19 testing should take place if a student-athlete or athletic staff member is experiencing symptoms or running a fever.
  • Social distancing is required in all non-competitive situations.

Games

  • Temperatures are checked prior to departure for any event; home team temperatures are checked upon arrival to the facility.
  • Social distancing is required for all spectators attending events.
  • No pre- or post- game/match handshakes, greetings, or contact.  Teams will just go to and from the locker rooms.
  • Balls will be changed at time outs in Basketball; change of possession in Volleyball; and out of bounds in Soccer. Baseball and Softball balls are exchanged through regular play (foul balls, etc.).
  • Hand sanitizer will be available on all benches.
  • Water coolers, with throw away cups, or teams with individual water bottles will be available on the sidelines.
  • Players should have their own individual towel provided by their team.

Positive Test

  • Should a student-athlete test positive for the pandemic virus, the athlete and entire team shall be quarantined according to CDC standards.  If teams travel together, both teams shall be quarantined according to CDC standards. 
  • Due to medical confidentiality restrictions, the institution/coach will not name the individual with a positive test result. All scheduled games during a quarantine period, will count as “no contest.”  Rankings will be on a percentage basis.
  • Should a student-athlete test positive during regular season play, institutions shall notify all opponents within a two-week schedule.  Affected TCCAA institutions shall also quarantine their affected teams for the CDC recommended allotted time frame.

Check on health department requirements.

NJCAA Region/District Representative

In the event the Region/District Tournament cannot be played, the TCCAA Regular Season Champion will be declared the NJCAA National Tournament representative.  Should two teams tie for the Regular Season Championship, a single playoff game at a neutral site will determine the representative.

PHASE IV


Conditions

Colleges are open, no restrictions from the CDC, the State, or the NJCAA. A vaccine or a cure is developed.

Plan

  • Incorporate COVID-19 or pandemic vaccination as a component of student-athlete’s physicals, and coaches’ and staff’s return to campus.
  • All student-athletes are virus tested prior to the first day of college/practice.
  • Temperatures and assessment or screening forms are conducted twice a week.  If a positive virus symptom appears previous protocol will be followed.
  • Continue standard procedures for infection prevention:
    • Frequent handwashing
    • Avoid touching their face
    • Cover mouth/nose when coughing or sneezing

Games

  • Processes and schedule continue as previously approved by the TCCAA Presidents. The TCCAA Tournaments are conducted as scheduled

Other Considerations

Cleaning of student-athlete spaces and practice/game facilities should follow the CDC recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting community facilities. Frequently touched areas (e.g., door handles, light switches) should be cleaned multiple times daily. Work-out equipment should be cleaned with anti- septic cleansers prior to use, between use by different athletes, and after use. At home, fresh food should be washed carefully before eating. Wash hands prior to cleaning and/or eating food. Dishes should be washed at high temperatures, preferably in a dishwasher.

*Special thanks to the NJCAA Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Christopher Parker, the NJCAA Staff, NJCAA Region Commissioners and Directors from Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee for providing the materials for this document.

Southwest Back to Campus Operational Levels