By Will Johnson
EAST TEXAS – “Practice? We’re talking about practice, man. We’re talking about practice. We’re talking about practice. We ain’t talking about the game.” – Allen Iverson
With the easing of restrictions put in place to help combat the spread of COVID-19, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) issued a statement on Friday, May 22 about when schools could begin “… limited UIL summer strength and conditioning and marching band practice starting June 8, 2020 as restrictions due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic begin to be lifted across the state of Texas.”
In the Friday afternoon media release, the UIL stated schools should use discretion when considering whether or not to offer in-person programs. The organization further stated areas of the state facing COVID-19 related challenges should consult with local health officials to determine what additional restrictions, if any, should be added to these guidelines.
“Schools deciding to move forward with offering in-person activities are encouraged to do so carefully and with vigilance, ensuring safety requirements outlined in this approach are closely adhered to in order to mitigate risk,” according to the media release.
The information provided and dates are subject to change based on COVID-19 related information. UIL will continue to work with state officials and monitor CDC and other federal guidance to determine any potential modifications to these guidelines.
According to UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt, “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.”
“While we are eager to resume UIL activities,” Dr. Breithaupt continued, “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.”
The UIL cautioned this is an evolving situation and urged administrators, coaches and athletes to check the UIL website and social media accounts for further updates.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.