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How to handle a COVID exposure when training BJJ

Updated: Apr 1

Computer generated image of the coronavirus

A couple weeks ago I found out that I was with someone who was asymptomatic, but tested positive for COVID. My thoughts about it flowed as follows:

  • F*ck!

  • I made it through all of 2020 and 8 months of 2021 with no issues and now this happens

  • I'm probably fine

  • Both the person who tested positive and I are fully vaccinated

  • I'll just get tested, see if I'm positive, and let people know if I am

  • I don't want to cause unnecessary concern for the people I was with after I was exposed

  • I had taught class the night before I found out I was exposed

  • Maybe I should wait until I get my test results before freaking them out

  • I don't want to interrupt my schedule unnecessarily, maybe I can just continue with my normal routine and then just let people know if I get a positive result

Then I realized that I was being an idiot and my last several thoughts were stupid and selfish. My teammates and students were counting on me to protect them and their families and they have a right to know if I've been around someone who's tested positive.

Chris, Sean, and I had previously discussed how we'd handle things if someone got COVID, so we already had a plan — I just didn't think I'd be the reason we had to implement the plan. I texted them and let them know. We proceeded to contact everyone who was in class with me and they all scheduled tests. We then cancelled classes for the remainder of the week.

Fortunately, everyone's test came back negative. I remained isolated 10 days after my exposure and tested negative one more time after the 10th day and before returning to the gym.

I share this experience because if you're exposed, I want you to feel comfortable letting me know. Yes, it sucks and it will probably feel like you are screwing up everyone else's training, but that's ok. It's better for us all to miss a few days of training than to potentially risk the lives of our families, friends, and coworkers.

I think I was exposed to someone with COVID, now what?

If you think you may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID and you've trained at Groundworks since your exposure, please call, text, or email the gym and then go get tested.

Groundworks requires all members and coaches to be fully vaccinated. However, if you are exposed, you can expect Groundworks to act as follows:

  • Thank you for letting us know you had a COVID exposure

  • Ask you to get tested and let us know your results

  • Ask you whether or not your exposure was a “close contact”

    • The CDC defines a “close contact” as interacting with someone less than 6 feet away with more than 15 min of cumulative exposure in a 24 hour time period

  • Ask you to provide a negative PCR test at least 5 days after exposure before returning to training

  • If you had close contact with the positive person:

    • All members (coaches included) present at class with you will be asked to show a negative PCR test before returning.

    • If you tested positive, you must remain out of class for 10 days per CDC guidelines

    • If all coaches were present, the gym will be closed until one of us tests negative to begin running classes again

  • If you did not have close contact with the positive person:

    • Classes will remain open, but we kindly ask that you go get a PCR test and not come train until your results come back negative

    • If you are positive, we will take the measures listed above

I recognize that COVID is a highly politicized issue and that some people will see our approach as unnecessarily conservative while others will see it as not going far enough. If you are a current or prospective student and you'd like to have a conversation about it, please let me know.

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