Sports will go on, however, some schools will start later than others and with only 50% of the fans in the stands.
The Texas University Interscholastic League released its COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Guidelines on Tuesday laying the groundwork for high school athletics to move forward.
Among the standard protocols most districts have adopted for the restart of school — screening, sanitizing, masks and social distancing — the UIL is limiting the audience capacity and changing the start date for larger districts.
“Schools may allow spectators to attend games, contests, or events within a maximum 50% capacity limitation, provided that appropriate spacing between spectators is maintained according to the protocol,” the statement read.
According to the guidelines, 1A to 4A district volleyball and football can begin practice on Aug. 3. Volleyball teams will be able to hit the courts officially on Aug. 10 while football takes the gridiron on Aug. 27. Cross country and team tennis can both begin on Aug. 17.
This applies to Navarro High School, which is in Conference 4A Division II District 14, and Marion High School, which is in Conference 3A Division I District 14.
Districts in the 5A and 6A conferences will start a month later. Volleyball and football can start practicing on Sept. 7 with volleyball games beginning Sept. 14 and football Sept. 24. Cross country and team tennis can begin on Sept. 7.
This applies to Seguin High School, which is Conference 5A Division II District 12.
The UIL is following the governor’s order in requiring face coverings for all, including fans ages 10 and older with a few exceptions, the statement read.
Each school is required to screen students and staff before participating in activities or entering facilities where activities are happening.
Parents are encouraged to prescreen students.
“Schools are permitted to prevent any individual who fails the screening criteria from being admitted into school facilities or sites where UIL activities are being conducted until they meet the criteria for re-entry as described below,” the document stated. “Any individual for whom screening cannot be confirmed should be presumed symptomatic until confirmed otherwise.”
Schools are asked to mark off rows to allow for social distancing between groups.
Schools have to disinfect performance areas, band halls, locker rooms and other congregate places before and after use, as well as provide hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, soap and water and require students and staff to wear face coverings while inside these areas.