By Joey Villar

THE Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) gave its approval to the resumption of practice for student athletes provided they comply with the requirements and guidelines the agency set recently.

In documents obtained by The STAR, an athlete must acquire a letter of intent, a sworn statement from the school he or she plays for, a health declaration form, and a proof of document from local government units for inter and intra travels.

Schools conducting training must also secure a Collegiate Training Activities Certificate of Compliance duly signed by athletics directors and approved by university presidents or heads to the CHEd’s central office prior to conducting onsite inspections.

Training sites must adhere to strict protocols, among them the regulation of inventory list and occupancy capacity, appropriation of dormitory facilities, transportation, food, drinks and mental health provisions, observation of RT-PCR testing or a 14-day isolation, and provision of screening area and allocation of study rooms with strong internet connections.

CHEd is also obligating schools to provide ample supplies of personal hygiene kits both for student athletes, coaches and personnel, a health monitoring logbook and implementation of regular disinfection of the venues to be used.

A student athlete must also have a parental or guardian’s consent and an ID to be issued by their respective leagues.

It marks the first time in two years that student athletes would be allowed face-to-face training since being barred to do so due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Because of these recent developments, athletes may now start preparations for their forthcoming leagues.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is targeting to open its Season 97 in January next year while the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) is eyeing February.

The NCAA is looking at holding basketball and volleyball events apart from its online events while the UAAP is seeking to stage men’s basketball and women’s volley.

But CHEd’s recent decision may allow both leagues to open its doors on other events like track and field and swimming.