High school sports in Texas are getting their first jolt of life since the onset of COVID-19.
Officials with the UIL, the governing body of high school sports in the state, said in a statement Tuesday that they’re working on a plan to allow student athletes to start strength training and conditioning as soon as June 8, if the plan is approved. They are also considering allowing marching band activities on the same date.
Here’s what the UIL sent WFAA via email:
"UIL is aware of Governor Abbott’s May 18 announcement and is actively working with appropriate state officials to allow schools to begin limited summer strength and conditioning and marching band activities on June 8, 2020. As soon as the details of that plan are finalized, UIL will release them to schools to allow time to plan and prepare for bringing students back to campus for these purposes."
Youth Sports - opening May 31
In Tuesday's announcement for Phase 2 of reopening Texas, Abbott said youth sports can begin May 31.
Parents should monitor the health of their children and not send them to participate in sporting activities if they exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19. They should seek COVID-19 testing promptly and report results to the program given the implications for other children, families, and staff. Individuals aged 65 or older are at a higher risk of COVID-19. Parents should protect any vulnerable persons who are members of the same household or come into frequent, close contact with individuals who participate in youth sports.
Below are some of the health protocols employees, contractors and volunteers must follow:
- Provide notice to all parents and guardians of the enhanced risks of participants being in direct contact with anyone age 65 or older for 14 days after participating in a sport event or practice.
- Train all staff on appropriate cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
- Screen all staff each day for any new or worsening signs or symptoms of possible COVID-19 infection.
- Limit staff with underlying conditions from attending or staffing the youth sporting event.
- Consider having all staff wear cloth face coverings (over the nose and mouth). If available, staff should consider wearing nonmedical grade face masks.
- Staff should mitigate environmental exposures by additional cleaning and disinfecting of symptomatic staff’s work area, common areas, and bathrooms.
- Isolate staff and participants exhibiting new or worsening signs or symptoms of possible COVID-19 and contact the local health department.
- Staff should help the operator in identifying exposure risks (contact tracing).
- Each sporting team is considered a cohort. Outside of the sporting event, mixing between cohorts is discouraged.
- Spectators should avoid being in groups larger than 10 people. Within these groups, individuals should minimize in-person contact with people not in the individual’s household, including practicing social distancing.