Student athletes who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 “should be able to engage in summer 2021 athletics activities without wearing a mask or physical distancing,” the National Collegiate Athletic Association said in a new guidance document on summer sports issued Tuesday.
“Unvaccinated athletes and athletics personnel should consider wearing masks and/or remaining physically distant during all athletics activities unless the population has reached a critical threshold of 85 percent immunity and the community transmission is low,” the document states.
The guidance document, developed in consultation with several medical advisory groups, also outlines considerations for testing unvaccinated athletes and athletic staff based on local levels of transmission and COVID-19 immunity.
“Thanks to the distribution of vaccines, the level of COVID-19 immunity across the country has increased considerably, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidance for vaccinated individuals. This is reflected in our latest resocialization document,” Brian Hainline, the NCAA's chief medical officer, said in a press release. “However, vaccination levels are still not high enough to reach effective immunity across the country. This suggests virus transmission will continue at the local level rather than large outbreaks across the country, emphasizing the need to carefully monitor local trends and immunity levels.”