MORGANTOWN - With the country and state starting to reopen from the COVID-19 pandemic, the West Virginia University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has initiated a phased approach to bringing its football staff and student-athletes back to campus.

MORGANTOWN - With the country and state starting to reopen from the COVID-19 pandemic, the West Virginia University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has initiated a phased approach to bringing its football staff and student-athletes back to campus.

The Big 12 Conference announced last week that football student-athletes could return June 15 to on-campus facilities for voluntary workouts. With that announcement, the department, along with the appropriate parties, finalized plans for the return of Mountaineer football.

Protocols for screening, distancing, cleaning and sanitation have been set for Phase 1, which consists of a two-week period for coaches and players. The two-week slots are June 8-22 for coaches and staff and June 15-29 for football student-athletes.

Both groups will be tested for COVID-19 at least 72 hours prior to their return date, and the results must be negative before they can enter WVU’s football facilities. In addition, both groups will follow the current CDC guidelines for containing and stopping the spread of COVID-19.

A few of the protocols in place include limited personnel in the facilities at all times, face coverings to be worn in all common areas and daily screening and temperature checks for staff and student-athletes. Weight room equipment will be relocated outdoors, properly distanced and sanitized after each use and virtual remote meetings will still occur. Protocols are also in place for the quarantine and treatment of a positive COVID-19 case should it occur.

“Phase 1 is the first step to getting Mountaineer football ready for the 2020 season,” Director of Athletics Shane Lyons said. “This two-week phased approach enables us to safely get our football staff and players back to campus and will provide the guidance for the return of other student-athletes starting in July. I want to thank our medical team and department staff who worked endless hours in putting together a plan that puts the safety of our football student-athletes, staff and University first.”

The Big 12 lifted restrictions for additional sports to phase in a return to campus starting in July. Like football, the return of those sports will be subject to state and University guidelines.