The Oklahoma Christian University athletic department has new COVID-19 testing policies for the fall 2021 semester.
Unvaccinated student athletes have to test three times a week during the season and once a week during the off-season. In addition to testing, unvaccinated individuals will quarantine if they, or a close contact, test positive. Fully vaccinated students do not have to test or quarantine at all through the course of the season.
This is a step up from the 2020-2021 season where athletes were tested just once a month.
The new testing policy does come from the NCAA, so club sports on campus do not follow the same policy as NCAA sports do. Non-NCAA club sports test athletes once a week if they are unvaccinated.
Athletes across campus are displaying a mixed reaction to the new procedures. Senior Kevin Collyar is not looking forward to testing this upcoming season.
“Going from once a month last year to this is just such a big jump,” Collyar said. “Hopefully there won’t be too many positives amongst unvaccinated people.” Collyar said that it’s more than the testing; the quarantine rules can also cause a major wrinkle in a team’s season.
“It happened to us last year, guys getting put in quarantine and having to miss games,” Collyar said. “I just hope more tests don’t equal more of our guys in quarantine.”
Junior Emily Tripp, a club sport athlete, explained her reaction to the new policy in club sports. All club sports athletes were also tested once a month last season.
“I understand it, they are trying to keep a close eye and catch a spread before it starts, so I just hope that this new way is effective for all sports,” Tripp said. “But even for us it is a pretty big difference from last semester.”
The new policy has influenced some athletes to get vaccinated to avoid the grueling testing process.
Sophomore and student athlete Elijah Woods said he got the vaccine for this reason.
“I wasn’t too motivated to get the vaccine, but when I learned what procedures are in place, I went and got it,” Woods said.
Woods is not the only student athlete trying to avoid dealing with the new regulations.
“At the end of the day if you are vaccinated you’re in the clear for the entire season,” Woods said. “It is up to the individual but I see more guys getting vaccinated and that’s what I’m noticing.”
Oklahoma Christian athletes mentioned how used they are to adapting by now with all the changes they have gone through in the past year and a half. This is just another one that they will get through.