ROBBINSVILLE, NJ - Now that it is clear that the NJSIAA is intending to have a 2020 fall sports season, albeit with a delayed start, the next question that is most frequently asked is “What happens if someone tests positive?”

The NJSIAA has released the following guidelines, in a FAQ format, to answer some of those questions.

The following protocols are provided to assist schools when deciding how COVID-19 positive tests or exposures should be handled during the fall 2020 high school sports season. All decisions are local and should be made by school administrators in consultation with local public health departments; however, these scenarios should help in the decision-making process. Please note that these scenarios are applicable to coaches as well.

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Close Contact:

Per the NJ Department of Health COVID-19 Public Health Recommendations for Local Health

Departments for K-12 Schools, “close contact” is defined as being within six feet of someone with suspected or known COVID-19 for at least 10 consecutive minutes at least two days before the positive test or two days before symptoms appeared.

CDC guidelines indicate close contact also means living in the same household or being in direct contact with secretions from someone with suspected or known COVID-19. Close contact does not include brief interactions, such as walking past someone.

 

Contact Tracing:

Athletic departments should follow all contact tracing protocols established by the school’s Pandemic Response Team. Coaches must be available to assist school staff to help identify all people who may have been in close contact with an infected student-athlete. NJSIAA does not have any additional contact tracing protocols that are above and beyond the protocols a school establishes with its local health department.

Return to Play:

Due to the increased risk of myocarditis, any student-athlete who tests positive for COVID-19 must be cleared by either a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) or a Doctor of Medicine (MD). Final clearance must come from the school’s district physician for those schools that have one. Clearance must be sent in writing to the school nurse.

Reporting of Positive Tests to Opponents:

Contact tracing is the job of the school’s Pandemic Response Team and the local health department. 

However, the NJSIAA and its Medical Advisory Task Force believe the contact tracing process can be helped, and outbreaks limited, if schools communicate with each other about positive tests. Therefore:

1. If a student-athlete or coach tests positive, the school should report the positive test to any opponent the team played within two days of the symptoms/positive test, and the team’s next opponent.

2. The school’s report must preserve the anonymity of the person who tested positive.

3. The receiving school is encouraged to contact its own Pandemic Response Team and local health department for direction as to what, if any, steps it should take as a result of this information. How this information is handled by the receiving school is a local issue.

4. There will be no penalty if a school chooses to cancel a game after having been notified of an opponent’s positive test.


 

Scenario

Protocol

A student or coach has had close contact with a suspected COVID-19-positive individual outside the athletic environment (e.g. same household, party, or any other event outside of team activity).

• Individual should contact their doctor and school Pandemic Response Team ASAP.

 • Individual should be vigilant and check for symptoms multiple times a day.

 • If contact tests positive, refer to the next scenario below. 

• Individual should quarantine immediately upon first symptoms for 14 days.

• Team play may continue.

A student or coach has had close contact with a positive COVID-19 individual outside the athletic environment (e.g. same household, party, or any other event outside of team activity)

• Individual should quarantine immediately for 14 days.

 • Individual should contact their doctor and school Pandemic Response Team ASAP.

 • Team play may continue

One student or coach tests positive, regardless of whether contact was inside or outside of athletic environment.

• Infected person should quarantine immediately for 14 days from the first day of symptoms or day of positive test.

• Infected person should contact their doctor and school Pandemic Response Team ASAP.

• Any student or coach in close contact with the infected person two days prior to symptoms/positive test, must also quarantine for 14 days and monitor their symptoms.

• Team play may continue.

Two or more students or coaches on the same team test positive within 14 days of each other, and the cases are linked to a clear alternative exposure that is unrelated to team activities (i.e. same household, party, or any other event outside of team activity).

Infected persons must quarantine immediately for 14 days from the first day of symptoms or day of positive test.

• Each infected person should contact their doctor and Pandemic Response Team ASAP.

• Any student or coach in close contact with any infected person two days prior to symptoms/positive test, must also quarantine for 14 days and monitor their symptoms.

• Team play may continue.

Two or more students or coaches on the same team test positive within 14 days of each other and (1) the cases are linked together by some team-based activity; or (2) the connection between positive cases cannot be easily identified

Consider shutting down the team for 14 days based on investigation by the school’s Pandemic Response Team in consultation with local health department.

More than two students or coaches on multiple teams test positive within 14 days and a clear connection between positive cases cannot be easily identified.

Consider shutting down multiple teams for 14 days based on investigation by the school’s Pandemic Response Team in consultation with local health department.

A school has switched to remote learning based on a very high risk of viral transmission within the school or local community.

Consider shutting down all athletic programs during remote learning period based on investigation by the school’s Pandemic Response Team in consultation with local health department.

 

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