Worcester, MA…Today, with the health and safety of the AMCAT student-athletes, coaches and campus community being paramount, Anna Maria College has made the difficult decision to suspend fall athletics competition. This decision impacts football, equestrian, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. In making this decision, College leadership and athletic administrators explored all options and considered campus community safety protocols, current information on the pandemic and the guidance available from federal, state and local health authorities. There has been no decision made regarding the start date of winter practices and competition.
As an institution, Anna Maria deeply values the important role that varsity athletics brings to the educational journey of our students and to the campus experience. The athletic department and college remains strongly committed to providing all student-athletes with an athletic experience during the fall semester that will include athletic activities, strength and conditioning, and additional team-based activities within NCAA, state, federal and college health guidelines for all Anna Maria fall, winter and spring athletes.
As pertinent health information becomes available and guidance from the NCAA, GNAC and ECFC. The athletic department will work with the NCAA, GNAC and the ECFC to provide additional practices and competition for fall sports during the spring semester. Even though athletics may look different this coming fall, Anna Maria College, its athletic department, entire coaching staff and athletic trainers are committed to building an academic and athletic experience for our student-athletes that is as safe and robust as possible.
“The health and safety of our student-athletes and campus community is always our priority,” said Joe Brady ’96, Director of Athletics. “Although we will not be participating in the traditional sense this fall, Anna Maria College and the athletic department will work hard to provide an environment that will improve the skills, performance and leadership of our student-athletes.”
Anna Maria College is currently engaged in planning for on-campus instruction and student life for the 2020-2021 academic year. The College acknowledges that the fall semester will be different in many respects due to the pandemic. As President Mary Lou Retelle stated in her July 2 communication, “restarting the on-campus experience must prioritize the safety of our students, faculty and staff and preserve the academic integrity of our programs.” This precept is guiding fall planning for all programs and activities.
Anna Maria College continues to work with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (Mass. DPH) and the local Board of Health to monitor the situation locally. The College and the athletic department are also following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is providing general health and safety information on the coronavirus.
This section will be updated as more information becomes available (last updated 7/17/20 10:00 am at ET).
Will there be a full season of competition for fall sports?
Unfortunately, due to health and safety concerns, Anna Maria College teams will not participate in traditional varsity athletics competition during the fall semester. Student-athletes will be able to take part in athletic-related activities relevant to College and Commonwealth guidelines, as well as those outlined in the NCAA Core Principles of Resocialization of Collegiate Sport. The athletic department is working on the athletic related plans for the fall and will be providing updates in the coming weeks.
When will I return to campus? What about preseason?
Student-athletes that are permitted to stay on campus will arrive the week of August 17, 2020. Anna Maria College Residence Life will be sending more information about the phased move-in process. There will be no fall athletics preseason.
Will fall sports have the opportunity to compete at a different time during the year?
Anna Maria College and the athletic department are working with the NCAA, GNAC and ECFC to allow fall semester student-athletes to compete in the spring if health and safety guidelines permit competition. No decision has been made at this time regarding an alternative playing season for fall competition and there is currently no timetable for this decision. The athletic department will provide more information as it becomes available.
Will there be different rules for contact and non-contact sports?
All sports will follow the recommendations of NCAA Sport Science Institute (SSI) Resocialization of collegiate sport recommendations regarding a return to campus and return to athletic activity.
When will students know about the plans for winter sports?
Decisions involving the start of winter intercollegiate athletic practice and competitions will be made at an appropriate time and will be informed by an evaluation of the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in conjunction with the GNAC, NCAA and the college.
What will it look like to participate/practice this fall?
Anna Maria College will follow the NCAA Core Principles of Resocialization of Collegiate Sport, and any subsequent state, college and NCAA guidelines, as we begin athletic related activities this fall.
Will winter and spring teams take part in athletic related activity in the fall?
Yes. Winter and spring teams will follow NCAA Core Principles of Resocialization of Collegiate Sport, and any subsequent NCAA guidelines, as we begin athletic related activities this fall.
Does practice include Strength and Conditioning?
The strength and conditioning staff will be working on plans to hold modified Strength & Conditioning sessions for student-athletes. The schedule will be different from past years to allow for increased sanitation and social distancing procedures as well as the use of outdoor spaces. Additional safety procedures will be communicated to student-athletes by the strength and conditioning staff.
If I attend all classes remotely for the fall semester will I be able to participate in fall athletic related activity?
No. You will not be in our testing regimen and will not be permitted to use campus facilities or take part in athletic activities, campus activities or utilize resources on campus for the fall semester. Note that services such as the Student Success Center, Library, and Counseling will be available remotely as will some student activities along with virtual athletic activities.
If I attend some classes remotely for the fall and are enrolled in on-ground/hybrid classes will I be able to participate in fall athletic related activity?
Yes. Whether you are a commuter or resident, you may use campus facilities and take part in other activities on campus including athletic related activity. Please work with your academic advisor or program director to identify and finalize classes you will take remotely.
If attending classes on-ground, in person (hybrid) according to my current schedule is action needed?
No action is needed. Remember to check your class schedule before the start of the semester (August 24th) to confirm the location of your classrooms as some may have changed for the purpose of social distancing.
Once the decision to take a class remotely is made will it remain in effect for the entire semester?
Yes, so that the classroom social distancing protocol can be followed. Remember to check your class schedule before the start of the semester (August 24th) to confirm the location of your classrooms as some may have changed for the purpose of social distancing.
If I am enrolled in on-ground classes and live off-campus can I still participate in athletic activities during the fall?
Yes. Student-athletes that are enrolled and not choosing to do their coursework/classes totally remote will be allowed to participate in athletic activities in the fall.
Will fall athletes who are residents still be housed together?
Yes. The guidelines from the State of Massachusetts ask colleges to cluster cohorts in housing whenever possible, and since fall athletes will continue to work out and do other activities together, there will be cohort housing of all fall athletes.
Student-Athlete Health Screenings and COVID-19 Testing
All health screenings for on-campus student-athletes will follow the procedures and testing protocol outlined in Anna Maria’s 2020 Fall Planning Guide. Students will be given a baseline test at the start of the first fall term or upon arrival to campus, and asymptomatic community members will be tested at regular intervals.
Much of the pre-participation process will be conducted online prior to in-person screenings in an effort to meet current health and safety standards and mitigate risk by reducing group gatherings and the amount of time needed for face-to-face meetings. The Sports Medicine staff will follow the phases outlined in the NCAA Core Principles of Resocialization of Collegiate Sport guidelines for return to play.
Sports Medicine Operations
The Athletic Training Room will use telehealth and in-person appointment systems for evaluation, treatments, and rehabilitation of injuries/illness for both on-campus and off-campus student-athletes throughout the 2020-21 academic year. Care standards will remain the same, but could take longer due to capacity limits, daily screenings, temperature checks, and new safety procedures. Additional safety procedures will be communicated to student-athletes by the Sports Medicine staff.
Student-Athlete Personal Hygiene
Following reopening, student-athletes should continue to wash hands frequently and wear a mask. Student-athletes will be expected to follow all Commonwealth and College public health guidelines when entering the AMCAT Center and Fuller Activities Center
Fuller Activities Center/Fitness Center
The Anna Maria College Fuller Activities Center/Fitness Center remains closed at this time. The plan is for these facilities to reopen at the start of the academic year. The Fuller Activities Center/Fitness Center will open with new limited hours, capacity restrictions, and new entrance and exit traffic flow throughout the building. Capacity of the Fuller Activities Center/Fitness Center will be reduced and limited to on-campus students, faculty, and staff to allow for social distancing and increased sanitation efforts.
Once the Fitness Center reopens, it will open with reduced capacity and new cleaning procedures. Only on-campus students, faculty and staff will be able to utilize the fitness center during new limited hours, capacity limits and maximum time limits.
At this time the locker rooms are not open and being evaluated as how they will be used during the fall to adhere to CDC, state, federal and college guidelines.