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Athletic Department gets involved with Brown’s COVID-19 response

Coaches and staff take on new roles while Ivy League sports are on hold

Instead of fighting for wins on their season records, this fall, Brown’s Athletic Department staff are helping the University fight COVID-19.

Ivy League sports remain canceled through the end of 2020. These staff members have stayed involved in the Brown community by addressing students’ concerns about the novel coronavirus pandemic and helping to ensure campus remains as safe as possible.

About 70 Athletic Department coaches and staff have taken on roles in Brown’s COVID-19 response team since students returned to campus this semester. This includes fielding questions in the COVID-19 call center, aiding Health Services and working on campus as Healthy Ambassadors. 

In the COVID-19 call center, a resource students and families can access for information about Brown’s public health precautions and testing program, athletics staff are taking calls to answer questions and concerns, said Director of Athletics Jack Hayes. 

“All assistant coaches have an assignment in helping better the campus and helping to make sure it is the safest, healthiest campus for kids to come back to,” said Raleigh DeRose, assistant women’s soccer coach, which was part of why she was happy to take on a COVID-19 response role within the call center. 

“We’ve all been a part of a team in the past, whether it’s our coaching staff team, our current program or our athletics teams when we were in college and high school,” DeRose said. 

The athletic staff also “help with follow-up with students being contacted about testing,” Hayes said.

Some staff are working within the Office of Residential Life while others have become Healthy Ambassadors.

Healthy Ambassadors “walk the campus and answer questions anyone may have and encourage students to maintain the protocols of wearing face guards, maintaining social distancing and staying in small groups,” Hayes said. 

There are also about 10 Brown athletic trainers working with Health Services, according to Athletic Communications Assistant Nicholas Dow MA’19, who has taken shifts at the COVID-19 call center.

“The main idea is that with athletic competition on hold right now, the sense is that we all have a little bit of extra bandwidth to assist the University in a critical component of reopening this fall,” Dow said. 

None of the athletic staff “have the day job description of some of (the) things that we’re doing” to assist in COVID-19 relief, Dow said, “so, we’re all hopping into new areas and doing our best to help out.” 

Hayes believes that not only does the work of athletics coaches and staff help protect the campus from COVID-19, but their involvement could also help Brown’s sports teams return to the field. “Long term, the better the results are with testing, the better the chances are that there will be an opportunity for athletics down the road.”


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