Rutgers football program goes under quarantine — no word on impact on season

In a move that shows how much COVID-19 still is a threat in New Jersey — especially in a school setting — Rutgers University announced Saturday that its entire football program is going into quarantine after six players tested positive during its latest weekly testing cycle.

“We have paused all in-person team activities, quarantined our entire program and will work diligently with Rutgers medical experts, and state and local officials to determine next steps,” the school said in a statement.

Rutgers officials said the program has had only four previous positive tests since it returned to campus June 15.

With this action, Rutgers became the second Big Ten school to quarantine its program — and the fifth to stop workouts. Michigan State officials announced a 14-day quarantine for its program Friday.

The Big Ten already has announced it is scrapping the nonconference portion of its football schedule. Rutgers now is scheduled to open its season against Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, on Sept. 26. And Rutgers previously announced that games would be played without fans.

There is no indication that the season is in jeopardy; at least, there wasn’t this past weekend. Logic says that may change.

Other weekend notes:

Health metrics

The state reported more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases this weekend — 512 on Sunday and 547 on Saturday — pushing the overall total to 179,363.

The state also reported 27 more fatalities, pushing that total to 13,867.

The good news: The ever-important rate of transmission was down to 0.84.

As of Saturday at 10 p.m., there were 126 COVID-19 patients in intensive or critical care, 54 of whom were on ventilators.

The final word

Murphy sharply criticized guidance that came Friday from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which said international students who were not enrolled in U.S. schools on March 9 cannot come to the U.S. if they are only taking online courses.

Murphy, in a tweet, sharply criticized the move.

It’s time for ICE to drop this attack on our international students. These rules are unnecessary and un-America, and in the middle of a public health crisis is no time to be playing with the futures of our students.”

The state’s Office of the Secretary of Higher Education was also incensed, posting a tweet of its own.

Unbelievable. Just 10 days ago, ICE rescinded its directive. Now, here we go again with the xenophobic and illegal antics. We consider newly enrolling international students part of our New Jersey family, regardless of whether they’re learning online or not. ICE should, too.”

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