La Feria News

UIL allows schools to begin summer workouts starting June 8

By DAVE FAVILA
LFN

While the future of high school athletics still remains very much up in the air in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, there does now seem to be some hope that sports may return in the near future.

The University Interscholastic League recently announced that schools may begin summer strength and conditioning, and sport specific instruction beginning June 8 and run up to the day prior to the first day of school. This will mark the first time that students have been allowed to participate in organized high school athletics of any kind since mid-March.

Naturally, specific requirements must be followed and schools are not required to take part in summer conditioning if a school district deems it unsafe or simply doesn’t want to participate.

For those schools that do decide to participate in summer workouts, some of the requirements include:

  • Attendance at workouts must be optional for students.
  • Students are not allowed in locker rooms or shower facilities. Students are expected to report to workouts already geared up and then must return home at the end of the workout session.
  • During workouts, schools must have at least one staff member per 20 students to ensure proper social distancing.
  • Schools must have hand sanitizer or hand-washing stations readily available in workout areas.
  • No clothing or towels may be laundered on site or shared during workouts.
  • There can be no sharing of water or food.
  • Before the start of summer workouts and at the start of every week, schools should consider pre-screening of all students for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Workout sessions shall be no more than two consecutive hours per day Monday through Friday and no student can attend no more than one session per day.
    In addition to the above rules concerning summer workout sessions, there are also specific guidelines the UIL has set forward about sport specific instruction, such as football, volleyball or basketball.
    Some guidelines concerning these instructions include:
  • No competitive drills involving one or more students on offense against one or more students on defense may be conducted. As an example, in football, offensive/defensive drills are allowed, but no 7 on 7 or offense vs. defense drills are permitted.
  • Students and staff must maintain at least six feet of distance from all sides when not actively exercising.
  • Any equipment, such as sports balls, should be regularly disinfected during workout sessions and this equipment should not be shared between groups.

The UIL also spelled out what to do in the event students or staff show signs of the COVID virus. If a positive case is identified, the group to which that individual was assigned and in contact with must be removed from the sessions and all other members must self-isolate. If that individual regularly had close contact outside a single group, then all students and staff with whom that individual had contact with shall be removed from workouts for two week.

And while everything remains subject to modification, the bottom line is that regardless of what happens things will undoubtedly operate differently than in years prior for the unforeseeable future.

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