University athletes receive mandatory testing for COVID-19

To mitigate the spread of coronavirus on campus, Stockton athletics teams underwent mandatory COVID-19 testing over the past few weeks. Since symptom screenings fail to identify the presence of COVID definitively, baseline testing was an essential part of the Athletics return-to-play protocol.

Photo by Anna Shvets on

Athletes, coaches, and all other athletic affiliates attended their specific time, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. Before testing, participants had to provide AtlantiCare with their name, gender, date of birth, and ethnicity to ensure an organized system was in place.

Following their scheduled time, each team arrived at stadium bleachers on campus, where an AtlantiCare testing station stood beside the soccer field. Athletes sat individually on the bleachers until they got their cue to line up alphabetically. As each athlete stepped up to the plate, they handed their information to a health care worker and proceeded to the tent for testing.

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Above: The women’s soccer team, one of the many athletic groups tested for COVID-19. Photo courtesy of

The test itself requires a deep nasal swab that students described as “moderately uncomfortable,” in one nostril per person. The health care worker inserted and rotated the swab and then placed it into vile with the athletes’ name sticker. One nurse compared the tickle feeling to water going up your nose: unpleasant, but over relatively quickly.

Since rapid diagnostic tests are still in the process of becoming readily available, athletes must wait 48 hours before getting their results. During that two-day window, coaches encourage all tested individuals to practice social distancing.

LabCorp says products will become available once the patient has an online portal. If a positive result appears, the infected athlete and those who they’ve come in contact with are required to complete a 14-day quarantine before they rejoin their team.

Once a week, 25 percent of each team will test in the same method as described above. Stockton Athletics hope is that this, combined with diligence to everyday safety precautions, will protect athletics from a COVID-19 outbreak.