Lake Land College begins to provide COVID-19 testing for athletes

Lake+Land+College+begins+to+provide+COVID-19+testing+for+athletes

Kaitlyn Bloemer, Photographer and Reporter

Let’s be real, the wait for high school, college and professional sports has been a difficult one. Players are itching to get back on the floor, and fans are pumped to get back into the seats. Sports are an essential part to campus life, and a million memories are made by those who play and watch these teams. However, COVID-19 is still very real, and one case could compromise multiple teams, especially collegiate ones. Because of this, colleges are doing whatever they can to protect their students and faculty during these crazy times, and Lake Land College is no exception to that.

Knowing if a player has COVID-19 before stepping on the floor is a huge advantage in slowing the spread of the virus, and Lake Land College is now providing that service to its athletes. LLC’s Athletic Director Bill Jackson, with the help of Dr. Tina Stoval, Special Assistant to the President, spent a good bit of time researching where testing was available in the Mattoon area. After many discussions, Sarah Bush Lincoln Healthcare Center was willing to provide the college and its athletic teams with twice-weekly testing at a fair and affordable cost. Because of this, the service comes without fees to the athletes. The College Nurses, as well as the athletic support personnel, are there twice a week to help every athlete self-administer their nasal swab tests for the virus. Afterwards, Sarah Bush picks up the tests, processes them, and returns the results to the college within 24 hours. This provides players and coaches with much-needed information on the cases within their teams and will help the college better manage cases. 

What happens if an athlete tests positive for COVID-19? According to the Return to Play guidelines laid out by Lake Land, the student who tested positive will immediately be restricted from campus by Lake Land College Health Services and The Coles County Health Department. Along with them, campus and athletic restrictions will also apply to team members, and other students and employees who came into contact with the positive case. Should any student athlete not cooperate with the testing protocols and fail to participate in the testing; they would be restricted from any team activities until the next testing date. 

Just a reminder though, the COVID-19 testing is not the only measure Lake Land College has put in place to protect its students. Students are required to fill out the COVID-19 screening form before visiting campus, and only those approved will be allowed entry. Facial coverings are required at all times on campus unless directed otherwise. Athletes also have to take special measures when entering and participating in practices. Temperature checks are done for everyone entering the Field House, and anyone with a fever of 100.4 or higher will be sent home with the instructions to contact the Athletic Trainer for further directions. Athletes are also required to use hand sanitizer before, during, and after workouts, as well as encouraged to use as much of their own equipment as they can. If Lake Land College equipment is used, it is sanitized at the end of each practice.These are just a handful of the Return to Play protocols that are in place to keep everyone attending Lake Land protected. 

Lake Land College always keeps its students in mind and makes every decision with the intention to keep them happy, safe and healthy. The addition of COVID-19 testing for athletes will ensure that players can do what they love each and every day without running the risk of spreading the virus.

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