STORRS, Conn. (WTNH) — The University of Connecticut has announced it will be pausing any football-related activities in the upcoming school year due to student-athletes testing positive for COVID-19.
UConn officials said six student-athletes that have tested positive for coronavirus entered isolation.
Governor Ned Lamont said the state is now “watching like a hawk.”
A spokesperson for the university said the individuals were living in close contact and shared living spaces, which formed a cluster of new cases.
In early August, the university canceled the 2020 football season, but players were still allowed access to facilities to remain on track both academically and developmentally per the administration.
The news came days after a group of students was reprimanded for hosting an unapproved gathering inside a residence hall.
Before the informal gathering, five students had already tested positive for the virus along with two campus commuters.
“…There have been a couple of informal parties that people were not maintaining the protocols,” Lamont said. “I’m glad to see UConn came down on them pretty hard as well.”
UConn students said the increase in cases has been a much needed awakening.
“After we heard about the party on campus and that they actually immediately kicked some people off campus, it actually made us feel a lot safe,” said freshman Benjamin Deyoung.
“Now that that happened, no one wants to take risks,” added freshman Luciano Quagliaroli.
Officials note strength and conditioning training will be the only activity permitted for those who are not in medical quarantine or isolation. They will take place within small groups while everyone follows physical distancing and mask protocols.
“Following these most recent test results, we feel that temporarily pausing football activities is the best course of action for the team and the campus population,” director of athletics David Benedict said. “The well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff is our top priority and we are focused on the health of those who have become infected. We will remain vigilant in this area and will take all necessary action to ensure the health of our university community.”
Team meetings will continue to take place in a virtual setting.
A UConn spokesperson released a statement following the increase in cases, it reads in part:
Any case is cause for concern and new cases were inevitable, which is why the university planned very carefully for reentry and instituted the two-week quarantine for residential students before classes begin. The university has a clear process in place for isolating positive students, identifying close contacts through contact tracing and quarantining and retesting those students.