The path forward for college football in New England became a little more clear when Boston College football players began returning to campus on Monday. For first-year head coach Jeff Hafley and his staff, it's a moment that presents a whole new unique set of circumstances and challenges as football attempts to come back during a pandemic.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Hafley said he isn't shocked to see other programs have to deal with multiple players and athletes testing positive for coronavirus.

"I think it's gonna happen. And I think you're gonna see it across all college campuses," he said. "And we're gonna have ups and downs and we're probably gonna have weeks where some kids do get it. And we're gonna have to deal with it and we're gonna try to have to learn from it and do the best that we can."

The school's return policy for student-athletes includes a self-quarantine of up to 14 days for athletes returning to campus. All athletes will be tested around the eighth day of their quarantine.

Hafley said right now the team is still meeting through Zoom although players began returning on Monday.

Still, Hafley said having the players back is a "huge step."

"The one thing I told the team, I think we're being very proactive rather than reactive," he said. "And I think it will be a little harder for our guys early, but hopefully that will pay off. But it's great to be back around them, it's great to be back around the staff and we're excited."

And if the team can get through the period of quarantine, Hafley said it would allow the team to prepare.

"And we really believe that we picked a great time," he said. "Because if we get through this quarntine and we get to July 1, it really gives us two months to get ready. And I think that's a good amount of time, I think it's a fair amount of time. That's more time than you get if you just came back to training camp.

"Now, you lose the time because you didn't have spring football. But, I think we picked a really good time. I think we waited to make sure we were ready and prepared. We didn't want to rush back into it and we wanted to have a plan."

Hafley said the number one priority for the team is making sure players are safe and healthy before playing football. He didn't say if any players have tested positive for the coronavirus, but he remained hopeful that a season could still start, even as questions still linger on whether or not that's possible at this point.

"If things are good and we're able to contact, I think we'll see football as we know it," he said. "We're hopeful that the games will be played and we're back at this thing."

But he still admitted that there will likely be challenges ahead.

"This is kind of like what I explained to the team, this has never really happened in the history of college football," Hafley said. "So everyday I wake up and something new will happen...But we all have to be encouraged right now because we're here and we're back. If we weren't and no one was back right now, I would be a little bit worried."