Members of Stanford's football team now have the option to return to the playing field for preseason practice as of July 1, moving the university's athletics program on track for the fall season.
Outdoor and aquatic facilities are also now open to student-athletes, regardless of what sport they play, according to a statement from the university; however, training rooms and the sports medical clinic will be available by appointment only.
As part of the athletics program's "return-to-play" plan, student-athletes will be subject to regular COVID-19 testing and temperature checks, and will be expected to provide health reports, follow physical distancing protocols, wear face coverings and use additional personal protective equipment as needed.
Athletes "will not face any penalty, or loss of scholarship, should they choose not to participate in athletic activities," the statement said.
The plan adheres to Santa Clara County health orders and additional guidance from the NCAA, Pac-12 COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee, Stanford School of Medicine and Stanford Health Care, according to the statement.
Isolation and quarantine protocols that follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines are also in place, according to Stanford leaders.
The university began to reintroduce student-athletes back to campus on June 17, but the new clearance will now allow all student-athletes of any sport to participate in "voluntary activities."
A preseason model for summer football practice was approved by the NCAA Division I Council in mid-June, keeping fall college athletics programs on schedule even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For schools whose football seasons begin Sept. 5, including Stanford, the model allows eight hours per week of "countable athletically-related activities" from July 13-23 and 20 hours per week from July 24-Aug. 6. No adjustments were made to the legislated 29-day preseason practice period that begins Aug. 7.
Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.