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GPAC releases ‘return to play’ guidelines; fans allowed with masks

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SIOUX CITY (Courtesy GPAC) - The Great Plains Athletic Conference Council of Presidents (GPAC COP) has affirmed its commitment to playing a fall athletic season. In reviewing the data and incidence of COVID-19 in the region, the GPAC COP believes that health and safety mechanisms can be put in place to create a positive fall sport season. To assist with this effort, the GPAC COP recently approved Return to Play Guidelines for the 2020-2021 academic year.

The guidelines were composed by the GPAC Return to Play Task Force. The full document is a flexible, amendable document internal to the conference that will guide institutional administrators of the league to navigate the upcoming season.

Items covered in the GPAC Return to Play Guidelines include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Testing and Contact Tracing Information
  • Screening Procedures
  • Removal from and Return to Competition/Practice Guidelines
  • Gameday Protocols
  • Specific Rule Modifications for Fall 2020
  • GPAC Scheduling Intentions
  • Crowd and Fan Attendance Protocols
  • Communication Strategies
  • General Guidelines

The GPAC hopes to allow fans at most competitions. Each member school will follow their local and state guidelines for maximum attendees at each venue. The number of fans allowed in venues may fluctuate during the season. The GPAC will REQUIRE the use of face masks at all GPAC competitions (indoor and outdoor). Each member institution will be given the autonomy regarding the fan attendance, how to handle ticketing, entry procedures, and occupancy at their respective venues.

Detailed information on each member campus requirements will be posted on the GPAC website at prior to competitions beginning on September 5 and 12 for fall sports.

"It is important that we work together as member institutions of our conference to create the best possible outcomes for a successful season ahead," said GPAC Commissioner Corey Westra. "We are all committed to making this season a success. These guidelines provide a framework for us to operate within for this upcoming academic year. We must remain fluid and be prepared to pivot as a conference, if needed."

The GPAC Return to Play Task Force and COP will meet regularly to monitor and review the progress of the league as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Devin Reiners

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