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Sports >  NCAA basketball

Pac-12 adjusts COVID protocols: Move should reduce disruption to the basketball season

UPDATED: Fri., Dec. 31, 2021

By Jon Wilner San Jose Mercury News

The Pac-12’s medical advisors moved swiftly this week to adjust conference protocols following new recommendations by the CDC. The change should result in fewer postponements and cancellations during the basketball season.

On Monday, the CDC shortened the periods for isolation and quarantine from 10 days to five.

On Thursday, the Pac-12 took similar steps, albeit with testing requirements that account for vaccination status.

“Everybody is anxious to do this because we have identified the isolation period as the thing that needs to be addressed,” Miguel Rueda, chair of the Pac-12’s Student-Athlete Health and Well-Being Board, told the Hotline earlier this week.

“We’re trying to keep the disruption to a level that makes sense.”

As always, state and local health guidelines supersede conference policy. If the protocols are more restrictive at the local level, those apply.

Key details from the Pac-12’s new policy for players and coaches include:

– Unvaccinated individuals must be tested once a week using PCR (molecular) tests or three times per week using antigen (rapid) tests. No surveillance testing is required for the fully vaccinated.

– Individuals who are asymptomatic but test positive must isolate for five days (previously: 10 days), then wear a mask when in the presence of others for five more days.

– Individuals who are symptomatic and test positive must isolate for at least five days and until they are fever-free for 24 hours and symptoms have improved. They must wear a mask for “at least 10 days after initial symptoms,” according to the conference.

– Vaccinated and boosted individuals who are considered high-risk contacts of positive cases aren’t required to quarantine but should wear a mask for 10 days.

– Vaccinated but un-boosted individuals who are considered high-risk contacts of positive cases may compete but must wear a mask for 10 days (unless they have a negative PCR test).

– Unvaccinated individuals who are considered high-risk contacts of positive cases must quarantine for five days, with mask requirements upon return subject to testing.

The shortened isolation and quarantine periods should reduce the likelihood that teams will miss multiple weeks of competition, a fate that has befallen several schools already this season (Washington and UCLA, to name two).

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