Five student-athletes on the University of Ottawa football team have tested positive for COVID-19, according to CTV News reporter Josh Pringle.
Ontario University Athletics and U Sports cancelled their 2020 Canadian university football seasons in conjunction in June due to the coronavirus pandemic, however teams were still allowed to put on training sessions for players.
In an exclusive statement to CTV News, the university in the nation’s capital said the training program has been suspended until further notice after the university received reports that some players were not following self-isolation rules.
“Therefore put the health and safety of their teammates, the university community and the public at risk,” Ottawa said in a statement to CTV News.
“As the university’s top priority is to align with public health guidelines to ensure the health and safety of its campus community, including the Gee-Gees football players themselves, the university has, therefore, suspended the Gee-Gees varsity football training program until further notice.”
It’s the first known breakout of COVID-19 among a varsity team at a Canadian institution. Pringle reports the university is working with Ottawa Public Health following the positive cases involving members of the varsity football team.
“The University of Ottawa has implemented extensive protocols for varsity sports team training that respect public health guidelines,” the university said in a statement to CTV News.
“The health and safety protocols enable varsity teams to train, even though Ontario University Athletics’ (OUA) competitive season has been cancelled due to the pandemic.”
Head coach Marcel Bellefeuille and his Gee-Gees team face the first instance of adversity since his appointment to the position in May.