Collegiate sports training will be allowed to resume soon amid the pandemic after the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) released on Monday the guidelines for its implementation to ensure the safety of student-athletes.
In a virtual joint press briefing, CHED Chairman J. Prospero De Vera III said that while the resumption of athletic training is now authorized at the college level, it is still up to the institutions if they will allow their student-athletes to train given the current health situation.
In September, the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases gave the green light for varsity teams to resume athletic training in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ subject to CHED requirements.
A technical working group (TWG) was formed to craft guidelines on how it will be conducted which was composed of representatives from CHED, the Department of Health (DOH), the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), and the Games and Amusement Board (GAB), and collegiate leagues.
“The general idea is really to start opening up not just the economy but also activities in all areas so that we are slowly able to start resuming some of our normal activities but within the context of safety for everyone,” De Vera said
Under the guidelines, training should only be limited to body conditioning, non-body contact drills, while scrimmages or actual games are still not allowed.
“Contact training may be allowed in the new normal. CHED will issue the supplemental guidelines necessary for this purpose,” it stated.
Student-athletes aged 18 to 21 years old should also need to secure consent from their parents or guardians, while those below the age bracket will only be allowed to participate in virtual training.
Only student-athletes and personnel authorized by the President of higher education institutions (HEIs) will be allowed to enter the training venue — a complete list of which will be submitted by the school to the CHED regional office concerned.
They were also reminded to strictly observe minimum health protocols such as the mandatory wearing of face mask and face shield, and ensuring physical distancing.
Meanwhile, swab testing is not required for student-athletes who will enter the training but a mandatory 14-day quarantine is needed for the participants and personnel when sports training resumes.
“We hope our stakeholders — the administrators of universities, the student-athletes, the coaches, and everyone involved — can seriously implement these guidelines if they so desire to open up for training,” De Vera said.
The CHED chief emphasized that should the implementation yield good results, this may open the door for holding collegiate sports competitions.
According to De Vera, the TWG is set to submit these guidelines to the IATF within the week for approval. Once approved, HEIs included in collegiate sports association will be allowed to begin their preparations for training.