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Intercollegiate Athletics Activities Suspended in Wake of COVID-19 Cases

Emporia State University today temporarily suspended all intercollegiate athletics activities after a number of positive COVID-19 tests were found connected to student-athletes.

The decision came after Lyon County Public Health on Tuesday alerted the university that it was investigating a suspected cluster of five cases connected to the ESU baseball team. When additional cases were found through ESU’s random testing of all athletes, the decision to temporarily suspend activities was made out of an abundance of caution. As of 3 p.m. today, a total of 14 student-athletes out of over 400 across all teams had tested positive for COVID-19.

Under the suspension, academic meetings will be allowed. The random testing of student-athletes also will continue, and ESU Athletics will continue to evaluate the situation.

ESU President Allison D. Garrett noted the need for swift action.

“This could not be a wait-and-see situation,” said Garrett. “We must work together to stop further spread for the benefit of our entire campus community — students, faculty and staff.”

She noted that ESU Athletics is following strict health and safety protocols from the NCAA during organized activities, which only began on Monday.

“We believe some of these cases came through social interactions,” she said. “We also know from our own records that we have other cases of COVID-19 on campus that are not clustered and not connected to Athletics.

“It is imperative that everyone connected to campus follow the guidance we have already provided, she concluded. “Wear face masks, practice social distance of at least 6 feet and good hygiene like washing hands.”