La Feria News

UIL announces delayed start of sports season

By MARK MOLINA
RSL

After a spike in COVID-19 numbers caused counties to push back on-campus activities, the University Interscholastic League has followed suit, releasing a modified calendar on Tuesday for the 2020-21 school year as an update to the COVID-19 risk mitigation guidelines set to take effect Aug. 1.

The calendar modifications most notably delay the start of fall sports for Classes 5A and 6A until Sept. 7, while practices for Classes 1A- 4A begin on Aug. 3.

Cross country and team tennis do not show start dates for practices, but are scheduled to begin play on Aug. 17 for 1A-4A and on Sept. 7 for 5A and 6A.
The change reflects the varying COVID-19 numbers across different geographical areas, providing a delay for highly populated metro areas with larger 5A and 6A schools while allowing smaller schools to start mostly on schedule.

The UIL said in its press release that “acknowledging the situation is not always clear-cut and that COVID-19 affects every community differently, the plan also allows for local flexibility and encourages districts to plan for possible interruptions in order to complete district seasons.”

The first day for games, matches and meets for small school volleyball is scheduled for Aug. 10 and Aug. 27 for football, and Sept. 14 and 24 for 5A and 6A volleyball and football, respectively.

State title games for 5A and 6A will be pushed back to sometime in January.
Updated COVID-19 risk mitigation guidelines can be found at UILTexas.org and they include guidance regarding face coverings, general operations and protocol for individuals confirmed or exposed to COVID-19, congregate settings (band halls, locker rooms, etc.), practice and rehearsal activities, spectators and media, and concession stands and food service.

The UL also stated in its press release that guidelines are in addition to guidance issued by the Texas Education Agency and intended to be implemented along with TEA guidance, which applies to UIL academic activities and extracurricular non-UIL activities.

The new plan allows for schools to make playing decisions at the local level and the UIL will work directly with schools that have scheduling issues not addressed in this plan to allow them the flexibility to complete as many contests as possible.

“Our goal in releasing this plan is to provide a path forward for Texas students and schools,” said UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt. “While understanding situations change and there will likely be interruptions that will require flexibility and patience, we are hopeful this plan allows students to participate in the education-based activities they love in a way that prioritizes safety and mitigates the risk of COVID-19 spread.”

The UIL will continue to monitor guidelines put out by the Center for Disease Control and adjust accordingly.

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