Simpson athletes undergo random COVID-19 testing


Photo by Matthew Marquez

by Matthew Marquez, Staff Reporter

Simpson College sports teams are undergoing random weekly COVID-19 tests on campus every Monday and Tuesday in the Campus Services Center.

Sports teams are now allowed to resume practices and gather in respected groups of less than 10 players in each “pod” while also following social distancing guidelines in-between groups. 

“The bottom line is, we just want to make sure we take care of our student-athletes, and that, you know, we don’t want anybody to go home,” said Athletic Director Keith Hackett. 

With 10 athletic teams resuming their seasons this fall, each team is categorized into high, medium and low risk. 

“Medium risk and low-risk programs are just required to do surveillance testing every two weeks twenty-five to fifty percent of their roster have to be tested every two weeks,” said Hackett referring to baseball, tennis and cross country. “The high-risk sports, football, the two soccers, volleyball, the two basketballs, and wrestling are going to have a lot more testing than your medium risk.” 

Athletes are selected randomly with the same software that is used to select athletes for drug testing procedures. Taylor Witzel, head athletic trainer, and Rebekah Kimzey, assistant athletic trainer, is responsible for running the software and handing the names off to Katie Lee, Director of Health Services in the health center. Lee then emails athletes to come into the health center and complete the COVID-19 testing. 

About 50 athletes are tested each week with 7-15% of each team being tested.

Athletes can come in either on Monday or Tuesday to complete their testing. This is mandatory for athletes that are selected and can not be avoided.  

“I hope in two weeks, now it could be longer depending if there’s an outbreak on campus. But what we’re moving toward is eventually being able to expand the pods, and [athletes] can have inner-squad scrimmages and those kinds of things”, said Hackett.