Functional Groups: An NCAA Concept Extended to Non-Athletes to Provide for Athletic and Recreational Outlets for our Student Population


Thank you to the campus community for your continued effort and cooperation in creating a community of mutual care. As part of our ongoing efforts to keep the campus community safe while offering in-person living and learning, we are excited to introduce “functional groups.” Functional groups are a safe way for our community members to be socially connected to each other and to care for themselves physically and emotionally.

The NCAA has created the concept of “functional units” as a strategy to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19. We have already implemented this concept with athletics at Allegheny College. We are now ready to invite all student organizations formally recognized by ASG to adopt this model of safe congregation.


A functional group is composed of five to ten individuals, who consistently participate in activities together, supervised in person by an Allegheny employee. If your group is larger than this number, consider subgroups. The members of the group must maintain masking at all times. However, it is permitted to be closer than six feet. Assuming that these individuals observe appropriate sanitization and universal masking practices and do not otherwise place themselves in high contact risk scenarios (for example, attending off-campus social events), the individuals would only be considered “high risk” to one another. This is a strategy for mitigating virus spread by keeping our physical circle small and allowing for quick contact tracing.

All community groups who choose to participate in functional groups must register such participation with ACHA by e-mail, with the advisor copied. Please include the advisor’s name, the names of the members of the group in your email and detail your plans for safe congregation. ACHA will respond to all e-mail requests to register their function groups within four business days. If you need assistance creating your plans, please e-mail your questions to Marko Sadikovic at


The Allegheny advisor attends all gatherings in person and ensures that all members of the functional group understand that they are accepting high risk contact. The employee records the members of the group, including phone numbers, and remains in close contact with ACHA to be available to support contact tracing should a group member test positive. The advisor encourages safe behavior during meetings and reminds the group that this close contact is limited only to supervised gatherings, and does not extend to socialization outside of these structured gatherings.