(Eliza Green / Daily Titan)

Despite the absence of Big West practice and competition, six Cal State Fullerton student-athletes contracted COVID-19 since the start of the fall semester, according to a statement from Titan Athletics on Monday. 

Following the positive tests, the individuals entered the department’s protocols and were self-isolated, according to the statement.

After contact tracing, additional student-athletes were quarantined, but they tested negative. Only one of the students who tested positive was on campus for in-person instruction; the course’s professor and students were notified of the possible exposure. 

“We are working with the campus to do everything we can to prevent anyone else from testing positive. As a department, we will continue to focus on the health, safety and well-being of our student athletes and staff," said athletic director Jim Donovan in the press release. 

According to the athletic department, there is one student athlete enrolled for one outdoor class, while all other classes are online. It is also reported that no student athletes are currently living in on-campus housing. 

As  campus activity is barred for the semester and the department is unable to check symptoms in-person, the coronavirus cases were self-reported by the student-athletes. The student athletes are required to stay in contact with their team’s trainer if they test positive, have been exposed to the virus or are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. 

Once a positive case or exposure is reported, the individual then enters information that goes through the campus and its health center to track and trace the spread of the virus, said head athletic trainer Jaimie Potter. 

“Indications are positive at this point that the self-reporting and the quick action of both our training staff and the health center on campus and the support we received, it's very positive at this moment,” Donovan said. 

Since the Big West board of directors elected on March 13 to indefinitely suspend spring competition, no CSUF team has met in-person .  

With the coronavirus still prevalent and the decision to postpone fall sports until the end of the calendar year, the conference has yet to decide if it will proceed with the men’s and women’s basketball season. While the conference stated in July that the start date of the basketball seasons would be Nov. 10, the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball oversight committee agreed on Tuesday to propose Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving, as a tentative start date for college basketball this year. 

Potter said that once student athletes and staff can return to campus, the department will be able to monitor symptoms regularly and build more of an understanding on following the virus. 

The department is working on a comprehensive plan that is contingent on guidelines from the governor’s office which will allow them to start optional workouts and conditioning on campus. It is currently being reviewed by a committee which plans  to have it approved and implemented by early October. 

Along with social distancing, sanitizing between uses of facilities and proper ventilation for spaces, the plan includes testing for individuals experiencing symptoms as well as testing for 25% — roughly 100 — of the student athletes and staff each week. According to Steve DiTolla, the senior associate athletics director, the department is looking at tests that range between $40 to $150. 

If approved, student athletes participating in workouts can either choose to live on campus or commute. If student athletes decide not to participate in optional workouts, they are not at risk of losing their athletic scholarship, but their specific housing situation can affect the amount awarded.

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