Virginia Athletics announced Friday that there have been no new positive tests of COVID-19 among student-athletes since July 24.
This update includes test results from students on the baseball and men’s and women’s cross country teams, which returned to Grounds for training last week, in addition to seven other teams — men’s basketball, women’s basketball, field hockey, football, men’s soccer, women’s soccer and volleyball. In total, 282 student-athletes have been tested for the virus and four have tested positive.
Members of Virginia football, who started to return to Grounds July 5 for optional training and July 15 for mandatory training, have produced three of the four total positive cases of COVID-19. All players who tested positive were notified and were required to self-isolate for 10 days or until symptoms are gone and they are three days fever-free, whichever is longer.
Virginia Athletics said that known contacts of the individuals who tested positive were also asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. None of the four athletes have required hospitalization.
The ACC announced that all fall Olympic sports will begin competition the week of Sept. 7. After VMI’s football season was postponed earlier this week, Virginia football is scheduled to play 10 ACC schools and will likely begin its season Sept. 19 against Virginia Tech. According to Coach Bronco Mendenhall, it is unlikely that the VMI game will be replaced. All other fall sports are permitted to play a conference schedule that meets the NCAA’s minimum number of games, though they will be allowed to compete against non-conference opponents who meet the ACC’s medical standards.
Though Virginia Athletics has had success so far in preventing the spread of COVID-19 among student-athletes, other athletic departments have not seen the same results.
At North Carolina, an upward trend of positive COVID-19 cases among students caused the administration to move classes fully online — in addition, the Tar Heels’ athletic department announced Wednesday that it was suspending all athletic activity through Thursday. They later extended the suspension through Friday, though football Coach Mack Brown said that he was “confident” the football team would play this fall. As of Friday, North Carolina has reported 37 total positive cases of COVID-19 among student-athletes. Additionally, Clemson has reported 47 total positive cases among its student-athletes.
It is unclear how many fans will be allowed to attend athletic events this fall, but the University told ticket holders Tuesday that it “anticipate[s] reduced capacity at Scott Stadium this season.” Friday morning, Mendenhall said the current hope is to limit attendance at football games to about 1,000 fans, as is allowed under Phase 3 of Virginia’s reopening plan, with priority focused on families of players and coaches.
“That would probably be just the families of our players and the families of our coaches,” Mendenhall said in call with members of the media Friday morning. “That probably gets us to that number.”
As of Friday, Virginia has a total of 110,860 positive cases, 6,022 of which were reported in the last seven days. The Thomas Jefferson Health District, which covers both Charlottesville and Albemarle County, has a total of 2,217 positive cases of COVID-19 — 575 in Charlottesville and 943 in Albemarle.
The University is set to reopen with in-person instruction and on-Grounds housing starting Sept. 8 — several weeks after most other colleges begin reopening — after it implemented a two-week delay to the semester.