The morning of June 8 saw the return of limited, socially distanced strength and conditioning and sport-specific exercises across schools in the University Interscholastic League. It was the first …
The morning of June 8 saw the return of limited, socially distanced strength and conditioning and sport-specific exercises across schools in the University Interscholastic League. It was the first UIL-sanctioned event since the abrupt end to the basketball state championships in March due to the new coronavirus pandemic.
Each student-athlete was questioned for symptoms and had their temperature taken upon entry before joining the group they were assigned to for the entirety of the strength and conditioning session from June 8 to July 31. Within the groups, the student-athletes are to practice social distancing and use the hand sanitization stations strewn about the workout site.
Katy ISD student-athletes from seventh grade up to incoming seniors in high school punched their timecard the first day they were allowed to come back following the UIL’s cancellation of remaining activities on April 17.
On June 9, the UIL came out with guidelines that will start on June 22 which will increase the group sizes in sport-specific instruction as well as increases the allowable capacity for indoor workouts. Outdoor sport-specific training will be able to go from 15-player groups to 25 players in a group.
“Indoor workout activities can be conducted up to a maximum of 50% capacity beginning June 22,” the June 9 UIL update said. “Beginning June 22, students may be placed in groups no larger than 15 total students. Each working group should maintain appropriate distance from other working groups.”
The UIL prefaced the workout requirements by advising schools to adhere to local guidelines put in place first when contemplating holding non-mandatory workouts.
“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,” the UIL said. “Schools should follow all local and state requirements when considering strength and conditioning activities.”
The previous guidelines remained in place with attendance records being kept although the workouts are voluntary. The update outlined the course of action if a case of COVID-19 is identified in a student-athlete.
“If a positive case is identified among a participant in these summer activities, either staff or student, the group to which that staff or student was assigned and in contact with must be removed from the sessions while all members of the group self-isolate,” the UIL said. “If the confirmed individual regularly had close contact outside a single group, then all of the students and staff with whom the confirmed individual had close contact shall be removed from workouts for two weeks.”
The UIL set a timeframe for when activities can take place but also said the dates were subject to change base on COVID-19 related information.
Junior high programs can run up until the day before the first day of school while high school programs will finish either at the beginning of the fall season or the day before the first day of school, whichever comes first, the update said.
“For athletes that participate in a sport that may start prior to the first day of school (football, volleyball, tennis, & cross country), those athletes may not attend a summer strength/conditioning program or sport specific skill session in any sport once their sport season has begun,” the UIL said.
July 3, 7, 8, 20 and 21 were all listed as a “period of no activity” where no schools will be allowed to host student-athletes, the update closed.