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Michigan State football resumes workouts after two-week virus stoppage

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

After two weeks of quarantine and isolation, Michigan State’s football program is back on the field.

The Spartans were forced into isolation on July 22 after surveillance tests revealed a staffer tested positive for COVID-19, as well as one player. Two days later, a second staff member tested positive.

Michigan State is one of six Big Ten football programs that have paused workouts at one point this summer.

“As part of the athletic department's return to campus policy, student-athletes have been asked to quarantine when coming into close contact with an individual who tests positive for COVID-19," the university said at the time of the positive tests. “The university has designated areas available to house individuals in quarantine as needed based upon the living arrangements for student-athletes.

“For the individuals who tested positive, daily check-ins with athletic training staff will continue while the individuals remain in isolation, with additional services provided as directed by the medical and administrative staffs. Further testing and physician follow-up will be required prior to returning to any level of workouts.”

Michigan State is one of six Big Ten programs that have paused workouts at various times. Northwestern paused football workouts this week while Rutgers has been placed in quarantine after an outbreak in its program. Ohio State, Indiana and Maryland have also paused workouts at different points of the offseason.

For Michigan State, the shutdown meant plenty of practice time missed as teams were allowed 20 hours of work per week leading up to preseason camp, which is scheduled to begin on Friday. 

It’s a critical time for the Spartans and first-year coach Mel Tucker, who was able to work with his team only one time in person before COVID-19 shut down all activities in March.

On Wednesday, the Big Ten released its revised 2020 schedule with Michigan State opening the season on Sept. 5 at home against Minnesota. If the season is played, the Spartans will be without senior defensive end Jacub Panasiuk, who announced he will take a redshirt season because of safety concerns relative to COVID-19 and return for his final year in 2021.

In the most recent round of testing conducted July 30-31, seven Michigan State student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19, out of 127 tested. Fifty staff members also were tested as well, with all results coming back negative. Since the start of June, MSU athletics has conducted 651 tests on student-athletes, with 30 positive results. More than 150 tests have been conducted on staff members both on and off-campus, with five positive results.

mcharboneau@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @mattcharboneau