Arizona Suspends Plan to Return Athletes to Campus Despite Large Increase in COVID-19

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Arizona suspended plans to bring athletes back to campus on Monday, citing an increase in COVID-19 cases in Pima County and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the local health system.On June 15, the school began bringing athletes back for voluntary training in groups of about 20 people, with new groups arriving weekly. Arizona said Monday it has received only one positive COVID-19 result after testing 83 athletes in the past few weeks.

Arizona awaits clarification on whether it can continue training with athletes already on campus after Governor Doug Ducey on Monday ordered all gyms in the state to close for 30 days due to the COVID-19 tip. Arizona reported 3,858 positive cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, marking its highest total on a single day and the seventh report of more than 3,000 cases in the past 10 days. Pima County now has more than 7,500 confirmed cases.

“The health, safety and well-being of everyone in our community is our number one priority,” said Dave Heeke, director of sports for Arizona, in a prepared statement. “We will continue to work with campus partners and our local government agencies to support and assess a safe and healthy return to campus. ”

The Arizona football team hoped to begin official activities on July 6 as it prepares for a season opening scheduled for August 29 against Hawaii.

“Our mission has always been, above all, the safety of our student-athletes, our staff and our community,” said Dr. Stephen Paul of C.A.T.S. Medical services said in a prepared statement. “Health and safety continues to be the driving force in our reintegration process. We will continue to monitor the status and impact of COVID-19 in our community and our continued and safe training of student-athletes already on campus. assess when to resume the back-to-school process in collaboration with the University of Arizona guidelines and protocols, the Pac-12 Conference, the NCAA, and national and local government agencies. “

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