DALLAS — The University Interscholastic League has made official what it hinted at earlier this week -- on June 8, high school athletic programs around the state may begin summer strength and conditioning programs and sport specific instruction.
Remaining spring activities and competitions were officially canceled for the reminder of the 2019-2020 year on April 17, though most activities were paused well before that due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The official language for resuming workouts leaves the option open to the individual school districts, saying that they "may, but are not required to" begin their programs on that second Monday in June.
The UIL, the governing body for public high school sports in Texas, outlined in its official documents that schools should "take their local context into account when deciding whether to offer summer strength and conditioning on campus."
They also instruct schools to follow all local and state requirements.
In addition to official legal requirements, the UIL has implemented their own requirements for all workouts.
The UIL website suggests schools should "consider having an individual wholly or partially dedicated to ensuring health protocols are being successfully implemented."
In addition to the state and local requirements related to COVID-19, schools must also meet the following UIL guidelines:
- Workout attendance must be optional for students. Also, the UIL encourages schools to consider offering at home and remote workout options for students, including virtual, sent by email or another online delivery options.
- Schools should keep attendance records, but not require or allow students to make up missed workouts
- Locker rooms and showers should remain closed. Students should come dressed in their workout gear, and go home to shower and change after
- At least one staff member for every 20 students should be present during workouts to ensure proper measures are implemented
- Schools must provide hand sanitizer or hand-washing stations, and students and staff should be instructed to use it frequently
- All surfaces must be thoroughly disinfected during and after workouts
- Students and staff should not share clothing, towels, food or water
- Clothing and towels should not be laundered at schools
- Schools should consider pre-screening students and members of their households for COVID symptoms prior to the beginning of workouts and at the start of each week. The UIL recommends completing these by phone prior to the first day, in person or in writing
- Each day, students and staff must self-screen for symptoms in themselves and family members
- The UIL recommends that schools take the temperature of students at the start of each workout
- Schools should have entry and exit plans in place that reduce the number of people congregating in parking or workout areas. Methods could include staggering start and end times, assigning different entry and exits to specific students, and only allow one person to enter at a time and stay six feet apart
- Schools should consider dividing students in different groups or cohorts to minimize the number of people who have to isolate if a case is confirmed
There are also more sport-specific and circumstance specific guidelines, on the UIL website: uiltexas.org.
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