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SEC planning for schools to be open for football

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13 of 14 schools in the Southeastern Conference have indicated they plan to reopen their campuses for the fall semester

www.secsports.com BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — All but one of the 14 schools in the Southeastern Conference have indicated they plan to reopen their campuses for the fall semester, a step widely believed to be needed to resume football and other sports.

South Carolina and Tennessee on Wednesday became the latest schools in the nation's top football conference to announce their plans, joining Alabama, LSU and others.

Vanderbilt hasn’t announced its plans for the fall. Every other school has been more vocal in their intentions to reopen their buildings while students and faculty participate for now in remote learning through the summer because of the coronavirus pandemic.

South Carolina President Bob Caslen said the Columbia campus “will resume in-person instruction in mid-August.”

“We will follow clear public health protocols, including social distancing within classrooms, lecture halls, meeting rooms and sports venues, with strong encouragement of proper social distancing off campus,' he said.

Tennessee President Randy Boyd said the university plans to “bring students back for an on-campus experience this fall.'

Reopening campuses is seen as a mandatory step before sports can resume.

The commissioners of the nation’s major college football leagues have stressed that college sports cannot return from the shutdown until campuses have reopened.

Dr. Brian Hainline, the NCAA's chief medical officer, has also said widespread testing for the coronavirus will be crucial to having college sports in the fall, especially contact sports such as football and basketball.

At LSU, home to the national champion Tigers, LSU Interim President Tom Galligan told The Daily Reveille newspaper there are definite plans to return to campus this fall — even if details about football remain unclear.

“It may be a little different in some ways, but I think it’s important to play the season, and I hope we do so,” Galligan said.

The season begins Aug. 29, though SEC schools don't begin play until the following week. SEC officials continue to strike an optimistic tone.

“Our current focus is on preparing to play the 2020 football season as scheduled,” the league said in a statement Wednesday. “If it is determined that we must pivot to another solution in the interest of public health, we’ll do so at the appropriate time.”

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