FSU football continues to work through COVID-19 vaccination hurdles

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Florida State football went through a challenging season in 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. But as the Seminoles prepare for this upcoming season, the team is dealing with a different challenge as it looks to educate its players on the benefits of vaccinations.

“For us, it’s about providing education for our players,” said FSU coach Mike Norvell. “As we go through this process, that’s something I was grateful that Myron Rolle got a chance to get on and talk to our team and provide them with information.

“Our guys have questions, and they want to know the effects and the benefits, and it was a great session our team got to be a part of.”

Rolle, who earned All-American status as a safety at FSU, is a doctor of neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School.

“We’re on our way with it, and our guys are making those decisions, and we’re supporting our players and providing all the information that we can to put ourselves in the best position,” added Norvell.

More than half of the football teams in the ACC have reached a required 85% threshold for the COVID-19 vaccinations, according to commissioner Jim Phillips, with many more schools close to reaching the mark.

“We’re getting closer each day, and that’s something that we’re working through,” said Norvell, who is set to start his second season with the Seminoles. “We’re aware of all situations, and we’re going to see how that progresses. We’re going to continue to evaluate things as we get closer.”

At least 55% of the residents in Florida have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is slightly below the national average of 56.3%, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The ACC hasn’t settled on how it plans to handle the upcoming season in terms of the minimum number of players required to play games or whether it would reschedule or forfeit games due to COVID.

Norvell said discussions are ongoing as to what protocols would be in place for players who choose not to get vaccinated. Those could include anything from requiring face masks to be worn in facilities and social distancing as well as multiple COVID testing.

The players, however, believe it’s a personal choice.

“I feel like it’s up to the individual on what they want to decide to do,” said FSU quarterback McKenzie Milton. “I’ll leave that to each guy on the team on what they want to do.

“If a guy gets contract tracing for two weeks, it is what it is if they decide not to get the vaccine. It’s one of those things that we have to deal with.”

Added defensive end Jermaine Johnson, “We’re talking about it as a team and we’re still deciding on what everyone wants to do. It’s still a work in progress.”

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Matt Murschel at mmurschel@orlandosentinel.com or follow him on Twitter at @osmattmurschel.

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