Serving Kentucky's Schools and Student Athletes Since 1917

08/23/21- Reminder about COVID-19 Return to Play Following Isolation

August 23, 2021 Athletic Department Blog Updates

Print

Recently, there has been misinformation shared among the membership about the Return to Play policy following a positive COVID-19 test. Whether this is a result of misinterpretation or deliberate on the part of some individuals is open for debate. Most importantly, nothing has changed since early 2021 regarding this process and procedure as was adopted following the unanimous recommendation of our KMA Sports Medicine Committee. The process is based on ever-studied scientific data that is under continual review as more and more is known about the impacts of the virus, particularly, potential heart impacts such as myocarditis.

It is also critical not to mix terms. Isolation occurs following a positive test of a specific person. Quarantine is what happens when others who have not had the positive test are exposed or potentially exposed to the person with the positive test. Nothing about this reminder relates to quarantine. Details on quarantine can be found in the links to two key documents on the website at https://bit.ly/3y78OIp (pages 5 and 6), and https://bit.ly/3fOwniO (page 3).

The full return to play protocol, including optional forms, continues to be on the COVID-19 website at https://bit.ly/2SQDOxm

  • The first page of the protocol is a decision tree. Designed by medical professionals for medical professionals, this is based on a significant amount of research throughout the pandemic on best practices for providers. This tree has been revised by the providers throughout the pandemic as additional evidence has been obtained through research.
  • The second page is the Return to Play required stepwise protocol for the return to play for a participant testing positive as recommended by the Sports Medicine Committee that was adopted in July 2020 and remains in place. This remains required as of this issuance. This applies to the participants, however, it is a local district option as to whether or not to extend this to non-student participants (coaches, etc.)
  • The third and fourth pages contain an optional form for use by medical doctors that was created by doctors. It is the school and district’s choice whether or not to use this form, though its use is recommended by our office. The decisions regarding who signs, whose signature is accepted, etc., rest solely with the local school and district, however, board counsel should likely be consulted if it is used by others than whom it was intended.

Within the Return to Play Policy, several additional questions have surfaced, and this will hopefully (again) provide clarity. Again, the decision to be more restrictive than the policy is up to the school and district. There is not an option at this time to be less restrictive.

The best summary of questions is as follows:

  1. For a positive test, is 10-days isolation required? Whatever CDC or local health dept stipulates is required not recommended. Currently, the minimum is 10-days for an asymptomatic, which starts on the day following the positive test, and ends on the day following the 10th day. The isolation period may be extended by local health departments based on specific symptoms or other guidance. If the isolation period is changed by CDC, consult local health departments for potential congruent changes.
  2. After the isolation period (normally 10 days) is a doctor or other provider visit required? No. It is recommended that the family consult with medical professionals with detail about symptoms experienced but it is not required. There is no requirement to see a cardiologist for return to play but is recommended based on the specific symptoms and situations surrounding the person who tested positive.
  3. Is the use of the medical form contained in the Return to Play protocol required? No, it is an optional form for use by medical doctors that was created by doctors. It is the school and district choice whether or not to use this form, though its use is recommended by our office. The decisions regarding who signs, whose signature is accepted, etc. rest solely with the local school and district, however, board counsel should likely be consulted if it is used by others than whom it was intended.
  4. Is the six-day protocol (with play or full activity on the seventh day) required? Yes, this period is required to ensure gradual acclimation to the rigors of the activity as well as monitoring potential issues following the illness. Any decisions to potentially shorten this period (which is not permitted on this required step) should be reviewed with board counsel and insurance counsel, particularly in sports that require acclimation or acclimatization for all participants.

Questions regarding the protocol should be directed in writing (via email if desired) to the contact of the sport in the KHSAA offices, or directly to the Commissioner. No verbal interpretations or rulings other than what is presented in this notice will be issued.

This policy will remain in place until officially sunset following the pandemic or replaced or edited as more data becomes available from authorities. The Sports Medicine Committee stands ready to meet at any point that data becomes available that would result in a revised recommendation. It should be noted that this policy has already been challenged in a matter in local circuit court, an action that was dismissed by the court.

Print