Illinois State student-athletes have begun to return to campus as part of a return plan laid out by the ISU Athletics Department. The plan was designed with guidance from campus, local and national officials and best practices laid out by medical professionals.
Basketball and football student-athletes have returned to campus, and volleyball student-athletes are expected to return next week. Return plans for all other Redbird teams are continuing to be developed.
All in-person athletic activities at Illinois State and on campuses around the country were halted in mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NCAA recently voted to allow student-athletes to return beginning June 1, and Illinois State followed with a decision to allow student-athletes back starting on June 10. All football and basketball strength and conditioning and individual skill workouts will begin June 15 and will be strictly voluntary per NCAA guidelines.
All steps for student-athlete returns coincide with the State of Illinois five-phase Restore Illinois plan, which currently sits in Phase 3. Each step in the plan includes guidelines for social distancing, face coverings, enhanced sanitization of all facilities, modified use of space and other safety measures, and pre-participation health screenings. All returning student-athletes will also be tested for COVID-19 before the start of any physical activity on campus. The student-athletes, coaches and staff will also receive continued online educational training before and during their return and will be monitored daily with a temperature check and health screening.
During the initial step, each student-athlete will have his/her own water bottle and work will be conducted in groups of 10 persons or less, with no mixing of groups. There will also be no locker room or shower access during that time and all student-athletes will be required to wear face coverings when not exercising. All weight room equipment will be sanitized by the ISU Sports Performance staff between each session and following the last session of the day and all facilities will be cleaned thoroughly each night in compliance with University protocols.
All plans are subject to change based on guidance from national, state and local health officials.