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Travel and Logistics Update for Spring Varsity Athletics

March 12, 2021

Dear WPI Student-Athletes:

After a year filled with challenges for the entire WPI community, we know you must have been thrilled to learn last week that the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Presidents Council outlined a path forward for the 2021 spring sports season and WPI has opted to participate in spring sports competitions. Your coaches, friends, and families no doubt share your excitement about this welcome news.

This means that our varsity teams competing in baseball, softball, men’s and women’s track and field, and men’s and women’s rowing will be gearing up for contests soon. And we know you can hardly wait to get back on the diamond, track, and water in your respective sports.  

But this uplifting news also comes with a set of responsibilities. We are still living amid a pandemic, which means we all need to be mindful of specific health and safety protocols now and throughout the spring sports season.

With this in mind, we’re outlining some key areas of focus:

  • COVID-19 testing
    • Spring student-athletes and coaches will be tested twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays. You cannot miss your tests on those days.
    • A positive or missed test by a team member (coaches/student-athletes/managers) who has been actively engaged in practices during the week may impact the team’s ability to be able to compete on the weekend.
    • Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will not be eligible to participate in practices or competitions. Those testing positive must consult with the WPI Health Team on proper isolation practices and next steps. They also must complete medical clearance with WPI Sports Medicine as part of the return to play protocol. 
  • Face coverings for student-athletes and coaches during practice and competitions  
    • All student-athletes and coaches must wear a proper face covering during practices and competitions.
    • A face covering must cover your nose and mouth, and fit securely under your chin. It’s important to use a face covering with a nose wire and bend it to fit the covering more snugly to your face.
    • Wash your hands or use sanitizer before putting on or taking off your face covering.
    • Do not touch your face covering while wearing it.
    • Vented masks, neck gaiters, and bandanas are not allowed to be used as protective face coverings.
  • Face coverings for athletes and coaches during travel
    • When traveling to practices or competitions, student-athletes and coaches need to be mindful of following the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
      • A face covering must cover your nose and mouth, and fit securely under your chin. Use a face covering with a nose wire and bend it to fit the covering more snugly to your face.
      • The CDC recommends double masking. Wear a disposable mask under a cloth mask. 
  • WPI Athletics will require all students and coaches to double mask per CDC guidance—An additional option is to wear a more protective KN95 or N95 during travel.
    • Student-athletes will have the opportunity to obtain a KN95 or N95 mask from the Athletic Trainers and the Office of Environmental Health & Safety (EHS). Should you choose this option, just this one face covering should be worn.
    • Wash your hands or use sanitizer before putting on or taking off your face covering.
    • Do not touch your face covering while wearing it.
  • Pre-screening
    • Student-athletes and coaches must use the Symptom Tracker every day.
    • For away competitions and off-campus practices, your temperatures will be taken before leaving campus.
    • For home competitions, your temperatures will be taken before entering the playing site.
    • Protocols are currently being developed to provide safe alternate travel arrangements for any student-athlete or coach who becomes symptomatic either en route to or during a game or a practice. More information will be shared soon.
  • Protect yourself at venues
    • Student-athletes must stay six feet apart at all venues.
    • Dugouts and bullpens in baseball and softball will be used during games, but proper distancing will be marked and must be followed. During practices, dugouts will be used only to store personal belongings.
    • Hand sanitizer will be available at all venues.
  • Transportation
    • Buses will have reduced capacity to maintain social distancing.
    • All student-athletes and coaches will have assigned seating on buses.
    • Only those individuals cleared by the athletic training staff will be eligible to travel.
    • Drinking and/or eating will not be allowed on buses.
    • Bus windows will be kept open unless there is inclement weather.
    • All players and coaches will read and sign the “COVID-19 Acknowledgment for WPI Sponsored Travel – Varsity Athletics.”
    • Housemate groups of more than two people may travel in the same vehicle for practices and contests. Those students must also sign an updated travel acknowledgment form.
  • Spectators
    • WPI and the NEWMAC have a no-in-person spectator policy at all events.
    • Livestreaming will be available for most competitions beginning March 20. Availability will be dependent on host and location. Visit https://athletics.wpi.edu/ for more information.
  • Venue logistics – Coaches will communicate venue-specific details to student-athletes, including location of bathrooms and other facilities. Players must provide their own water bottles. Signage will also be posted at all venues indicating entrance, exit, and other necessary directions.

We understand this is a lot to digest, but these steps are necessary to support the health and safety of all student-athletes and the broader WPI community. We encourage you to reach out to your coaches to talk through specific questions or concerns.  

Here’s wishing everyone a safe and fun spring sports season.      

Sincerely,

Dana Harmon
Director of Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics

Michael DeSavage
Head Athletic Trainer

Shannah Dalton
Associate Head Athletic Trainer