School districts across the state received instructions for opening up sports and band practices Friday when the University Interscholastic League released its recommendations for doing so.
The UIL alerted districts that they could — but were not required to — begin summer marching band practices as well as strength and conditioning and sport specific instruction beginning June 8. The site listed certain requirements.
“UIL will continue to work with state officials and monitor CDC and other federal guidance to determine any potential modifications,” a press release from the UIL stated. “Schools should take their local context into account when deciding whether to offer summer strength and conditioning on campus by monitoring the situation on the Texas Department of State Health Services dashboard. Schools should follow all local and state requirements when considering strength and conditioning activities.”Information on the website had nearly identical phrasing pertaining to marching band practices and rehearsals.
According to the listed requirements, students must be allowed to opt out of workouts. Students should not be allowed to make up missed days or workouts.
Students won’t be able to use locker rooms or showers for the strength and conditioning workouts and social distancing must be monitored, according to UIL information.
“Students should report to workouts in proper gear and immediately return home to shower at end of the workout,” the website reads. “During workouts, schools must have at least one staff member per 20 students in attendance to ensure appropriate social distancing, hygiene, and safety measures are implemented.”
Schools that hold workouts must provide hand sanitizer or stations for hand washing as well as cleaning and disinfecting workout areas each day.
Seguin ISD administrators are still determining the best approaches to proceeding after the UIL made its announcement, said Travis Bush, the district’s athletic director and Seguin High School’s head football coach. He plans to work with the superintendent to develop a plan, Bush said.
“As excited as people are to get started, there is no need to rush into anything,” he said. “Our county is still in a fragile state and we will be extremely thorough and delicate in how we proceed in this first phase.”
The district will start June 8 with some selected small groups for workouts, Bush said.
For marching band activities held outdoors, everyone must remain at least 6 feet apart when not actively practicing or rehearsing. The distance rises to at least 10 feet apart while actively practicing or rehearsing, the UIL reported.
“Indoor practices and rehearsals can be conducted to a maximum of 25% capacity,” read the website. “Students may be placed in working groups no larger than 10 total students. Each working group should maintain appropriate distance from other working groups.”
Seguin ISD’s fine arts director Jason Adam and others in the district are excited about Friday’s announcement regarding band. It could mean students can again get a taste of what normal feels like to them, Adam said.
“We are excited about getting our students involved with fine arts this summer,” he said. “I think the opportunity for students to regain a sense of normalcy with the programs they are passionate about is a positive thing.”
The Matador Band plans to meet for the first time this summer on July 1 to practice for Seguin’s upcoming July 4 parade, Adam said.
Information provided and dates listed are subject to change, according to a statement the UIL released Friday afternoon. Modifications will be announced in the event that there are any, the statement read.
“We are cautiously optimistic about beginning summer strength and conditioning programs and marching band practices that safely allow students to get back to working with their coaches and directors in preparation for the 2020-2021 school year,” UIL Executive Director Charles Breithaupt said in the statement. “While we are eager to resume UIL activities, we must do so carefully, deliberately and with an understanding that major adjustments are needed to ensure safety. The requirements outline an approach designed to help schools mitigate risk while ensuring students are physically prepared to return to activities in the Fall, should state and federal guidelines allow.”
More information and further details about the league’s decision to opening up summer activities can be found on the UIL website at www.uiltexas.org .