Athletics – Safe Return to Campus

From: Mark LaBarbera
To: Student-Athletes
Posted: August 4, 2020 at 2 p.m.

Valpo Student-Athletes,

I hope you and your families are healthy and doing well during these challenging times. I also hope you have had the opportunity for some rest and rejuvenation during the summer months.

As we approach the start of the 2020-2021 academic year, I am writing to update you on our plans for a safe return to campus with regard to athletics activities.  Over the summer months we have been reviewing information put out by public health authorities and the NCAA regarding COVID-19 and the best strategies for mitigating the spread of the virus. We have used this information to draft a COVID-19 Action Plan for Athletics which is attached.  We are using this plan and new information as it becomes available to explore every option for conducting athletics activities in a manner that protects the health and safety of our student-athletes, staff and community.

We know many of you are anxious to return to your respective teams and have questions about whether or not your competitions will take place during the upcoming season. Three factors will determine our ability to conduct athletic competitions in the coming months.

  1. The state of the COVID-19 pandemic in our community and those communities in which we compete.
  2. Our ability to obtain the resources needed to test according to NCAA recommendations.
  3. The commitment of student-athletes and staff to adhere to the guidelines put in place by the University and the Athletics Department to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Your cooperation is vital in helping ensure that you and your teammates follow the protocols and recommendations diligently to give us the best chance to return to competition as quickly as possible.

In accordance with NCAA recommendations and in order to create as safe of an environment as possible, all student-athletes and coaches will be tested for COVID-19 prior to the start of practices. Testing will continue during the semester, per NCAA recommendations. In addition, all student-athletes must complete the daily screening required of all Valparaiso University students, and student-athletes will be screened a second time each day before using athletic facilities.

Face coverings will be required at all times inside athletic facilities, except during sport-specific practices. Face coverings will be required outside during group meetings when physical distancing cannot be practiced. We will implement occupancy limits for all locker rooms, weight rooms, athletic training rooms and meeting rooms in order to allow for increased physical distancing in those areas.

We recognize that these safety measures require time, effort and attention from our already-busy student-athletes, and appreciate your willingness to cooperate with guidelines put in place by the NCAA, University and athletic department. I know all of you have had to make sacrifices and face additional challenges in your academic, athletic and personal lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you for the positive attitude and resiliency you have displayed during the spring and summer months. Your perseverance and support for one another once again speaks to the caliber of student-athletes that make up the Valpo Athletics family. Thank you again for everything you do to make our community, department and University so special.

GO VALPO!

Mark LaBarbera
Director of Athletics