Sealy ISD was among the University Interscholastic League schools that resumed in-person strength and conditioning and sport-specific instruction Monday morning with new guidelines that allowed workouts to be held with more than just one player on offense and one player on defense but required all non-participants and coaches to wear a mask.
Monday was Sealy’s second camp restart after a coach’s positive COVID-19 test result was announced on June 16. High school student-athletes returned for a few workouts before the UIL suggested schools close camps down ahead of the Independence Day holiday which barred further workouts until this week.
It was back to work like they never left with student-athletes flying around the football field, high school gymnasium and weight room with time suddenly winding down before the scheduled start to the fall sports season.
“Really and truly, if UIL stays on the deadline then we're basically three weeks out,” Sealy High head football coach and athletic director Shane Mobley said Monday morning. “The big question will be is everyone signed up to participate in cross country and football and volleyball. As coaches we'll start reaching out to the kids, making contact with them some this week but heavily once we get back (from our coaches retreat) for the week before football and everything else.”
Head volleyball coach and girls’ coordinator Kim Boyd said she’s still unsure what the indoor fall sports season will look like, but that time is certainly running out to make up for a lack of offseason competition that normally keeps many of her players busy in the summer.
“They have to get as much game playing time as possible because it's the only way they're going to get in shape. We rely on the club teams to keep most of our kids going and they haven't been going except for the last two weeks,” Boyd said Monday. “Then the stopping and starting and lifting and not lifting is hurting our backs again so all these things are terrible scenarios but we're not the only ones in it.”
Many high school sports programs across Texas are in the same boat as far as being unsure when the fall season will get kicked off and what it will look like when it does. In other states, however, the New Mexico Activities Association already announced its fall contact sports will be played in the spring and the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association delayed its fall sports teams from opening practices until Sept. 14.
Despite not knowing if they will actually be able to keep to the schedule he made, Mobley said he finalized plans for two-a-day practices.
“I waited as long as I possibly could, but I do have a two-a-day schedule for us to start Aug. 3 that I'm going to be mailing out this week with a letter,” Mobley said. “We’re going to request that all athletes bring their own towels. That way you can take it home, you use your towel and we don't have to worry about sharing.”
Now, Mobley said, begins the preparations for bringing the student-athletes back into the locker rooms that have sat mainly unused for the last few months except for the janitorial staff’s visits.
“I know we’re worried about the germs in there, but we'll disinfect, we'll put a sprayer out,” Mobley said. “The kids, as far as the locker room space and how many kids we have, you can't skip every other locker because they're going to be traveling through different doors anyway.”
Boyd said the check-in process had been boiled down to a science, but the mask requirement forced a couple parents to make some extra trips to provide forgotten face coverings.
“We have a pretty well-oiled machine so far where they have to go check in, get their temperature taken, fill out a waiver, they go put their stuff down then they go outside,” she said. ‘No standing around, just keep going (in one big circle).”
Aside from the guidelines and only being able to see half of their faces, Boyd was happy to be back in a full weight room.
“It's great, it's what I do, that's why I'm here,” Boyd said. “It's not just my volleyball kids. All of our kids are trying to get better and seeing more numbers today even though there is the threat out there, they're still trusting us to keep them safe so that's what I like to see.”