UIL To Require Masks During Summer High School Workouts

Alan Scaia
July 09, 2020 - 7:36 am

    The Texas University Interscholastic League has given districts guidance for how to proceed with summer workouts, which can resume next week.

    The guidelines include required face masks for anyone over the age of ten when they arrive in gyms or practice areas.

    ONLINE: UIL COVID-19 Guidelines

    The rule includes an exception for students who are actively exercising and can maintain six feet of distance from other students and coaches. Students will also have access to locker rooms and showers.

    UIL allowed workouts beginning June 8 but urged schools to restrict workouts this week because the Fourth of July would lead to more social interaction. Workouts can resume Monday, July 13 along with drills that involve offense and defense. Students can also access locker rooms and showers.

    Football and volleyball can begin to issue equipment August 3; football can begin full contact practices August 8.

    "My big thing is get them to working out, get a little conditioning in. I'm not worried about the one-on-one aspect," says South Oak Cliff High School football coach Jason Todd.

    Todd says fall sports are already behind in training, so he does not know if they will be ready to start playing games on schedule.

    "I've heard some different rumblings about possibly switching the fall sports to the spring and things like that, but nothing has been said for sure," he says.

    Arlington ISD's athletic director says his district is taking additional steps.

    "We're checking the symptoms, we're checking temperatures," says Eric White. "We're spreading them out. We have great control over that, so it's a very safe environment for them to work out and compete in."

    Teachers and staff are also required to self-screen for symptoms before participating in activities. Parents are also told not to send kids to school or UIL activities if the child shows symptoms of COVID-19 or has a confirmed case.

    UIL says it will work with the state and CDC, and its instructions could change if their recommendations change. UIL also says districts should also follow local guidance.

    The guidelines for face masks include the same exceptions as Governor Greg Abbott's order. Districts can also order face shields instead of face masks.

    "Face shields may be superior to cloth face coverings in many circumstances, given improved ability to see mouth movements and improved air circulation," UIL wrote in its guidance.

    In addition to the mask requirement, students are not allowed to share water or food. Clothing and towels may not be shared.

    Schools are also urged to develop plans to stagger practices, so large groups of students, coaches and trainers are not in the gym or parking lots at the same time.