Maryland athletics reports no positive tests in first round of coronavirus screening

A sign points toward Maryland Stadium's South Gate, where select University of Maryland employees could get tested for COVID-19 on June 19, 2020. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

Of the 105 student-athletes on campus who have been tested for coronavirus in the department’s initial screening, none tested positive, University of Maryland athletics announced Friday evening.

The first phase of the department’s gradual reopening, marked by Maryland football’s return to voluntary workouts on June 15, features a number of precautions, with student-athletes undergoing daily COVID-19 wellness checks. Each student-athlete and staff member is provided with two face coverings and social distancing is required. Individual workouts are held outside and closely monitored, and all facilities were prepared with deep cleaning and disinfection.

Maryland’s phased approach has been developed alongside state and county guidelines. This university’s sports medicine staff crafted the guidelines, referencing Big Ten protocols in the process.

[Maryland athletics to allow voluntary workouts for football players beginning June 15]

“Throughout this phase, we expect there will be some positive test results and have planned accordingly, through the implementation of State and county public health and university guidelines for education, contract tracing, and self-isolation,” Friday’s release stated.

In late May, the NCAA announced student-athletes could return to campus for voluntary activities starting June 1. However, it was left to individual universities to decide when they would have their programs return. As programs have begun reopening, though, concerns over the spread of COVID-19 have remained. Clemson reported more than a dozen cases last week, while Kansas State and Houston suspended voluntary workouts after multiple players tested positive.

The timeline for the next steps of reopening is undetermined at this point, but the department has said it will be guided by state, county and university health officials and “implemented only when it is deemed safe to do so.”

In the interim, Maryland athletics has said it will “publicly release the aggregate number of positive tests at regular intervals.”

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