SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Augustana University began a three-phase plan to allow student-athletes back on campus for voluntary athletic activities on June 1.
The athletic facilities at Augustana University were closed for nearly three months due to COVID-19.
“I think we counted something like 80-some days between when we had to close our facilities to when our student-athletes were back, so just to see activity, even though it was really limited, I think it really gave everybody a boost of energy,” Augustana Director of Athletics Josh Morton said.
Student-athletes from the Sioux Falls area returned to campus on June 1. They were joined by fall sports athletes this week, while all student-athletes are eligible to return beginning Monday.
“They go through protocols, they come in through the doors, keep them six feet apart, go through a temperature check, have to answer questions before they’re approved,” Morton said.
With student-athletes back on campus, Morton now looks ahead to fall, and flexibility will be key.
“There’s going to be some changes to what we think we’ll have, so it’s everything from our game competition schedule, what does that look like, what does travel look like, what does spectators look like,” Morton said.
Morton says Augustana is committed to providing a safe environment for fans.
“Our football stadium is perfect for it. You know, the berms are a great family location for people to go to, so we feel like we’re in a good position,” Morton said.
Whatever the sport, Morton says the number one priority is keeping the athletes, staff, and spectators safe.
“That’s pretty daunting, if you think about it, but I think we’re taking it in small chunks to be as ready as we can,” Morton said.
The Augustana football, volleyball, and soccer teams are set to play a combined 22 home games this fall.