With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Iowa, athletes at Simpson College will be tested starting Sept. 2. This is a requirement by the Iowa Rivers Conference in order to participate in games or tournaments this fall. The testing will take place on campus at Bill Buxton Stadium.
Testing will affect student-athletes who are participating in golf, tennis, and cross-country. These sports will still be held this season as they are classified as low-risk sports and are able to socially distance between teammates and opponents.
According to Interim Athletic Director Keith Hacket, athletes must register through Test Iowa in order to be tested for COVID-19.
Accommodations to cross-country meets have been made in order to keep the athletes physically distant enough to ensure the safety of the runners and to continue with the season.
“Cross-Country was initially considered medium risk, but then with the adjustments that the conference has made, they’ve been able to declare that a lower risk sport,” Hackett said.
With the concern of athletes testing positive for COVID-19, guidelines will be set in place for student-athletes who test positive and the people who’ve been in close contact with them.
“We’re going to test approximately 78 students,” Hackett stated.
If an athlete were to test positive, the right measures would be put in place to quarantine everyone in close contact in order to stop the spread to others on campus.
“If they test positive, those that have been closely associated with them are also going to have to self-quarantine,” Hackett said.
Student-athletes will still need to be following Simpson’s guidelines and rules regarding the virus by social distancing on campus and with other students. They also need to be careful with what they do while they’re not on campus in order to slow the spread of the virus.
“We’re encouraging all of our student-athletes and all of our coaches to follow the same protocols,” Hackett said.
Donivan Kinghorn, a member of the women’s tennis team, shared how head coach Faith Bliss encourages the players to follow Simpson’s COVID-19 guidelines carefully.
“She is just really encouraging us to be extra smart and safe, especially when we go off campus,” Kinghorn said.
Kinghorn also expressed her concerns about the virus.
“I know for our age it’s common to be completely asymptomatic,” Kinghorn said. “So I’m kind of nervous that one of us might come back positive and that we would have to hold off on the seasons a couple of weeks.”
Sophomore runner for the men’s cross-country team, Daniel Haisch, explained his feelings towards Simpson for still allowing the cross-country to participate this fall.
“As long as we get to have a season, I’m grateful that Simpson is doing something to allow us to have a season,” Haisch said.