Feb. 19, 2021, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grand Rapids Community College is testing basketball players for COVID-19 weekly through a partnership with Ferris State University, saying the college is committed to keeping student-athletes safe while competing.
Interim Athletic Director David Selmon said the testing exceeds safety protocols prescribed by the National Junior College Athletic Association and the Michigan Community College Athletic Association.
Through a partnership with the Ferris College of Pharmacy, students, coaches and training staff participating in contact sports will receive weekly antigen tests, with results available in about 15 minutes. The tests are administered by Ferris faculty and students, and are planned to continue through the end of the season.
“We’ve adopted several protocols to keep our student-athletes as safe as possible during the pandemic,” Selmon said. “This is an additional step, but we think it is an important one for teams competing in contact sports. Ferris has been an excellent partner for GRCC over the years, and we appreciate being able to work together on this testing.”
GRCC Athletics is closely following safety guidelines from the NJCAA and MCCAA, including requiring face coverings, social distancing where possible and prohibiting spectators from the arena during games. That’s in addition to GRCC policies, which include daily health screenings and frequent deep cleanings.
“This is another signal that our leadership is keeping the safety of our students first in mind,” Women’s coach David Glazier said. “Our students can safely engage in athletics, and we appreciate these extra steps are being taken. It definitely keeps us moving.”
Sophomore basketball player Richard Major said the testing gives athletes peace of mind as they work through the season, which starts tonight against Muskegon Community College. Basketball season has been delayed by several months due to the pandemic.
The testing involved a pair of nasal swabs, which are then run through a device.
“It’s not too bad,” Major said. “It’s something we need to do to be able to play safely. It will help us stay on the court and get the season in.”
Grand Rapids Community College offers learners of all ages opportunities to gain credits for degrees or transfer and in-demand career skills leading to rewarding careers. GRCC was established in 1914 – Michigan’s first community college -- and offers affordable classes on weekdays, evenings, Saturdays and online at locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.