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Notre Dame Football

Kelly discusses Notre Dame COVID plans, daily testing

September 21, 2020
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Brian Kelly has a designated survivor, so to speak.

No. 7 Notre Dame’s head coach simply has no interest in divulging exactly how his program’s COVID-19 pandemic line of succession plan works. Atlantic Coast Conference foe Florida State presently is dealing with the issue after announcing during the weekend that first-year head coach Mike Norvell is in quarantine with COVID-19.

“It’s serious, right,” Kelly said during Monday’s Zoom video call with reporters. “You’ve got to have a mask, social distancing is important. We have to be very, very serious.

“We have a succession plan in place for myself and each and every coach on the staff, in terms of the responsibilities and the duties. Mine are not singular in terms of one coach taking over. There are different responsibilities. I’m not going to get into who that person is, at this time. Hopefully we don’t have to.”

Kelly does, however, carry the plan throughout his roster.

“We have detailed out across the board, again, for all positions,” Kelly said. “From special teams down to wide receivers, including the head coach. We’ve got to be vigilant, stay on top of it.

“It could happen to anybody if you’re not careful.”

The Fighting Irish (2-0, 1-0 ACC), who visit Wake Forest (0-2, 0-2 ACC) Saturday at noon (ABC), know this first-hand after seeing eight players miss last Saturday’s 52-0 romp against South Florida.

They’re ratcheting up testing to a daily level amongst the groups with the most interpersonal, physical contact in practice.

“From our standpoint, right now, certain segments of our team are getting tested every day,” Kelly said. “The higher-risk areas, which are, generally speaking, those that fall under the close-contact (guidelines), which would be the [offensive and defensive] linemen.

“When you put that algorithm together, it’s really distance, duration and direction. If you fall under those categories, you’re generally coming up with linemen. We’re testing those guys every day.”

Though it typically reveals its two-deep depth chart for the week on Mondays, Notre Dame this week is waiting an extra 24 hours to release the projection on Tuesday.

Kelly also trusts in the school’s protocols, which have been in place since student-athletes’ return to campus in June.

“We have a protocol in place relative to when they can be released,” Kelly said. “And it’s been in place since June. So, we’ll continue to utilize that when we have players that are in quarantine. Isolation is a little different.

“Obviously, if you’ve tested positive for COVID, you have to go through a different procedure and protocol.”

Those requisite items include, but are not limited to, an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), the daily temperature checks and other guidelines by which Notre Dame continues to operate.

“When they are able to test negative twice and they get to a second negative test, we can begin a modified conditioning program with those guys,” Kelly said. “When they come back after 14 days on their own, they have a modified quarantine workout program that gets them back in pretty good shape.”

 
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