(CBSMiami)- The University of Miami athletics department announced Monday that it is welcoming its athletes back to campus for voluntary workouts as part of the return to campus plan. Phase 1 of the plan begins today with 65 football players who currently live in South Florida returning to campus. The plan also includes the return of strength and conditioning staff, trainers and academic support staff.

“We are excited to start bringing our student-athletes and staff back to campus. We have worked diligently with our colleagues on campus and at UHealth to ensure that we have a plan in place to bring them back safely and securely and that is consistent with the broader University plan,” Director of Athletics Blake James said in a statement. “It has been inspiring to witness the commitment and dedication of our U Family to stay connected to each other throughout this pandemic. But there’s no place like the University of Miami and I know everyone is looking forward to getting back to our campus.”

The plan for return to campus was developed by collaboration among university officials, UHealth physicians and administrators, UHealth Sports Medicine and local and state officials. Before bringing the athletes back to campus, the athletics department said the following guidelines were put in place for its facilities:

  • Ability to train and work out while still using current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines
  • Baseline COVID-19 testing (including both PCR and serology testing) prior to engaging in organized activity, as permissible under NCAA legislation, for student-athletes and staff engaged in direct contact with student-athletes
  • Ability to test for COVID-19 when symptomatic
  • Quarantine and isolation protocols
  • Contact tracing
  • Proper education and accommodations for student-athletes and staff
  • Daily screening and temperature checks
  • Return-to-activity protocols for COVID-19 positive cases

Athletes returning to campus will be broken into small groups of eight with the addition of a strength and conditioning coach and trainer per NCAA rules. In addition to the players returning today, the plan calls for a phased return of the remainder of the football team, as well as soccer, volleyball, and men’s and women’s basketball athletes.

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