The University Interscholastic League released guidelines last Friday to allow limited summer strength and conditioning and marching band practice to begin no earlier than June 8.
No UIL sanctioned event has occurred since the basketball state championships were suspended on March 12 but with Tex. Gov. Greg Abbott’s reopening plan progressing, professional sports can resume without spectators on May 31 and he is hoping to start the college football season on time as well.
In response to Abbott’s orders, the UIL has officially released the restrictions that would allow teams to begin preparations for the fall season but UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt added caution in his statement.
“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,” said Breithaupt in a May 22 press release. “While we are eager to resume UIL activities, 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 Executive Committee had been reportedly meeting and deliberating possible resumption solutions since the suspensions began.
Starting June 8, the UIL said both strength and conditioning and sports specific workouts can be held until the first day of school for junior high athletes and the beginning of the fall sports season for those high school athletes, if not their first day of school.
The UIL established that strength and conditioning can be no more than two consecutive hours per day during the week and no more than once per day. Sports specific instruction should not exceed 90 minutes per day with any more than 60 minutes per day in a given sport during the week, the UIL said.
The list of requirements compiled by the UIL was prefaced with the suggestion to designate an individual to solely keep up with the health protocols and any possible in-person screening.
Among the UIL’s restrictions on all workouts beginning June 8 are that students will not have access to shower facilities or the locker rooms, there must be one staff member per 20 students, hand sanitizing/washing stations will be readily available, all surfaces will be cleaned at the end of the day and there will be no shared water or food between students. The full list can be found on the UIL website.
Regarding sports specific training, UIL restrictions include indoor workouts must only be at 25% of capacity, students and staff must remain at least six feet apart – except for reasonable safety considerations like spotting – and the workout stations must be at least 10 feet apart.