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UIL Announces 1A-4A will Start On Time

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – While school districts are still finalizing plans for a return to the classroom, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) has announced its calendar for the resumption of extracurricular activities in the 2020-2021 school year.

According to a July 21 press release, “The University Interscholastic League (UIL) is presenting modifications to the 2020-2021 UIL calendar and updated COVID-19 risk mitigation guidelines, set to take effect August 1, 2020.”

The modified schedule shows Class 1A-4A activities of team tennis, cross country, volleyball and football are allowed to start practice on Aug. 3. The first day for matches in volleyball is Aug. 10. The first day for meets and matches in cross country and team tennis is Aug. 17. In football, the first day for games is Aug. 27.  

The district certification deadline for team tennis is Oct. 24, for volleyball the deadline is Oct. 27, for football the deadline is Nov. 7 and for cross country the deadline is Nov. 14.

State championships in team tennis will be held Nov. 11-12 while the state championships in volleyball will be held Nov. 18-21. The state cross country meets will be held on Dec. 5 and the state championship football games will be held Dec. 16-Dec. 19.  

The modified schedule shows Class 5A-6A activities of volleyball and football are allowed to start practice on Sept. 7. The first day for matches in volleyball is Sept. 14. The first day for matches and meets in cross country and team tennis is Sept. 7. In football, the first day for games is Sept. 24.  

The district certification deadline in Class 5A and 6A for team tennis is Oct. 24, for volleyball the deadline is Nov. 17, for football the deadline is Dec. 5 and for cross country the deadline is Nov. 14.

State championships in Class 5A and Class 6A for team tennis will be held Nov. 11-12 while the state championships in volleyball will be held Dec. 11-12. The state cross country meets will be held on Dec. 5 and the state championship football games will be held in January 2021, but the dates have yet to be determined. 

“These adjustments reflect the public health situation at this time and the varying numbers of COVID-19 cases across different geographic areas of the state,” the UIL stated. “This plan provides a delay for schools in highly-populated metro areas, primarily conferences 5A-6A, given the challenges with COVID-19 those communities are facing, while providing schools in other areas, primarily 1A-4A, an opportunity to start seasons on schedule.”

However, the UIL acknowledged “… the situation is not always clear-cut and that COVID-19 affects every community differently, the plan also allows for local flexibility and encourages districts to plan for possible interruptions in order to complete district seasons.”

With the understanding that not all schools will be able to start at the same time, this plan allows for schools to make playing decisions at the local level, and the UIL will work directly with schools that have scheduling issues not addressed in this plan to allow them flexibility to complete as many contests as possible.

UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt. Stated, “Our goal in releasing this plan is to provide a path forward for Texas students and schools. While understanding situations change and there will likely be interruptions that will require flexibility and patience, we are hopeful this plan allows students to participate in the education-based activities they love in a way that prioritizes safety and mitigates risk of COVID-19 spread.”

The UIL will continue to work with state officials and monitor CDC and other federal guidance to determine any potential modifications that may become necessary.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.  

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