LEXINGTON — The Kentucky football team took a big step in preparations for the upcoming season earlier this week, when a phased return to activity began Monday, as players began returning to Lexington to participate in voluntary workouts.

“We will not compromise the safety and well-being of our student-athletes in this process, taking all possible precautions,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “Once we take this important step in returning to activity, we will shift our focus to preparing to return to play and bringing the entire UK family – student-athletes, coaches and fans alike – back together this fall in a responsible and safe way.”

UK Athletics is following the recommendations outlined by the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force and the guidelines instituted by the university. Leading up to the return of student-athletes, UK Athletics will prepare facilities for use and ensure proper protocols are in place, including the following:

•An initial screening process for each student-athlete prior to beginning voluntary activities that includes antibody testing.

•Daily student-athlete and staff screening prior to entering a facility, including temperature checks and completion of a COVID-19 symptom questionnaire.

•Acknowledgement of vulnerable populations for both student-athletes and staff and following recommended accommodations and restrictions.

•Proactive education on COVID-19 best practices.

•Establishment of single entry and exit procedures and securing other doors to minimize facility use.

•Providing personal protective equipment for student-athletes and staff and setting rules for when masks must be worn.

Returning football student-athletes who remained in Lexington will be able to participate in voluntary workouts today having already completed the initial screening process. Returners who are coming back to Lexington from out of town will begin the screening process today with the goal of beginning voluntary workouts on June 15. Newcomers will begin the screening process on June 15 with the goal of beginning voluntary workouts on June 22.

Return to activity plans for other teams will be announced as they are finalized. UK Athletics will also continue to actively monitor the situation surrounding COVID-19 and respond accordingly in collaboration with University of Kentucky leadership.