Western Kentucky has paused activities within its women’s soccer program for two weeks, the school announced in a release Friday.

The school announced Monday one women’s soccer player tested actively positive for COVID-19, and the decision to pause activities came in consultation with the Barren River Health Department and WKU Athletics’ medical partners following additional acute PCR swab COVID-19 testing, according to the release.

The women’s soccer program had a regularly scheduled break from activity planned for this week, and had already extended that break to begin Monday as a precautionary measure.

Women’s soccer is the first program to be suspended by WKU due to COVID-19 since teams began returning to campus in June, but several other schools across the country have been forced to have programs break from planned activities.

The soccer player referred to in Monday’s announcement was WKU’s first student-athlete to test positive since teams began returning to campus.

WKU announced its first changes to the original COVID-19 athletic restart plan July 14 to include COVID-19 antibody testing for all student-athletes, coaches and staff making their first arrival to campus between July 4 and the beginning of the fall semester – a decision made with the second wave of athletes returning to campus July 6. In WKU’s July 14 release announcing changes to testing protocol, it also announced there were six positives in the antibody testing – four from student-athletes and two from staff – out of the 293 antibody tests performed. Each person who returned a positive antibody test was given a follow-up PCR swab test, and one staff member returned active asymptomatic positive.

WKU has launched a new website, wku.edu/healthyonthehill, to support the reopening preparations underway across the institution. Friday’s release did not include any information about new active positive cases within the athletic department, but it has launched a new COVID-19 case dashboard that will be updated weekly to include confirmed cases within the whole campus community as reported by the Barren River Health Department or reported to WKU’s COVID-19 Response Team.

Moving forward, as PCR results within WKU Athletics are received, any positive case counts will be included in the University dashboard updates. WKU’s athletic department will provide any relevant updates from its area as deemed appropriate.

The first wave of student-athletes to return to campus – 65 football players – did so June 8. The second wave included the remainder of the football team, the women’s soccer team and the volleyball team. The men’s and women’s basketball teams returned July 9 and the cheerleading team was scheduled to return July 20. The remainder of teams are scheduled to return the following dates:

  • Aug. 14 – Men’s Golf
  • Aug. 17 – Women’s Golf
  • Aug. 18 – Cross Country
  • Aug. 22 – Track and Field
  • Aug. 22 – Softball
  • Aug. 22 – Baseball
  • Aug. 22 – Tennis

WKU’s original athletic restart plan did not include testing for asymptomatic student-athletes, and only those with symptoms had a test performed, unless the student-athlete requested a test to be administered. WKU will continue to perform testing on any individual who shows or reports symptoms, as well as those who request testing.

WKU has put preventive measures in place to help student-athletes returning stay healthy. Masks are required and temperature checks are done on those entering athletic facilities. Equipment is cleaned after it is used, and numbers for workout groups are limited to 10 or fewer.

– Follow sports reporter Jared MacDonald on Twitter @JMacDonaldSport or visit bgdailynews.com.

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