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ULM suspends preseason football practice after positive COVID-19 tests

MONROE, La. (KNOE) – The University of Louisiana Monroe has suspended preseason football practice after multiple positive COVID-19 tests.

The school released the following statements regarding the matter.

Statement from ULM Athletics Director Scott McDonald:

”We remain committed to fostering a safe campus environment for our student-athletes as they pursue academic and athletic excellence this fall. So, following the guidelines created by our COVID-19 Task Force, it’s time to hit the pause button on preseason football practice. COVID testing, administered early this week, produced nine new positives, and as a result, our protocols call for the suspension of all football-related activities. The successful application of those protocols also calls for active contact tracing to mitigate the spread of the virus. “We fully anticipated an increased exposure to COVID-19 with the reopening of campus, the beginning of the fall semester as well as uptick in related off-campus activities. We also knew that we would have to work to create a modified student-athlete bubble once classes and on-campus activities resumed this month. “We’ll await the latest round of test results while continuing to monitor our quarantined and isolated student-athletes. We hope to safely resume football-related activities early next week.” 

ULM head football coach Matt Viator:

”Our primary focus remains on creating an environment that ensures the health and safety of our student-athletes. We’re fully aware that we’re managing a fluid situation, especially with the reopening of campus and the beginning of the fall semester. While disappointed, we realized that the suspension of practice was a real possibility sometime this preseason. With the pause, our team remains optimistic that we’ll be able to safely compete this fall. “We’ll resume preseason practice once all of the COVID-19 Task Force protocols have been satisfied.” 

ULM says they have administered 1,404 combined tests (PCR and antibody across all sports) since mid-June with 34 total positives (student-athletes and staff).

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