Clemson students officially begin to move into on-campus dorms this weekend just in time for the kickoff of 2020 football season.
Across the country at schools like the University South Carolina, North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Notre Dame, the return of students has led to significant spikes in positive test for COVID-19. This has led to increased anxiety in college towns and for athletic departments eager to return to competition this fall.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney knows the risks of the 25,000-plus students returning to the area. But he maintains faith that his team will proceed with caution because most of the students returned to the area by mid-August.
“We have talked a lot about that. I know the students aren’t necessarily in our house yet, but they have been here. Our students have been back for a couple of weeks now,” Swinney told media members in his weekly press conference on Tuesday morning. “The reason I know that is that when I get on [Highway] 123, I can’t move because of the traffic.”
According to the Clemson University testing results there have been close to 400 active cases since Aug. 30. The increased number reflects increased availability of free virus testing provided for off-campus students.
But on the Clemson football team numbers were relatively large spikes back in June, but since July they have dropped off tremendously. In fact, just four positives test in the last two months.
“We have definitely spent a lot of time talking with our guys about it and our guys have done a great job. We have had four guys (test positive) since early July,” Swinney said. “We had a couple of guys last week, none this week and testing has ramped up big time. We are testing Sunday, Wednesday, Friday hoping to move to everyday.”
The Tigers spend a lot of time talking about personal responsibility and maintaining a bubble-type atmosphere within the football facility. Swinney’s biggest point of emphasis has been personal responsibility and that narrative continues with the return of the student population.
“You have to keep your circle tight when you are away from here. They have to protect themselves and protect the team because even if you do everything right you can still get it,” Swinney said. “But we need to not do unnecessary things and continue to give ourselves the best chance week in and week out.”
Clemson kicks off at 7:30 pm at an empty Truist Field against Wake Forest on Saturday and hopes to have its full roster available at kickoff.