SAN ANTONIO – Prior to the July 4 weekend, the University Interscholastic League recommended that all school districts cease workouts due to the growing number of positive coronavirus tests in the state of Texas. To combat the virus’ spread and protect student-athletes, the UIL announced several additional safety requirements for when schools eventually resumed workouts.
On Monday, those new regulations were put to the test, as athletes across the greater San Antonio area were allowed to return to campuses and training facilities. Here’s an in-depth look at what’s changed since camps were initially shut down:
1. FACE COVERINGS REQUIRED
In accordance with Executive Order GA-29, face coverings and masks are now required for student-athletes to participate in workouts this summer and throughout the upcoming school year. Types of masks can be disposable, made of cloth or incorporate full face shields designed to protect the wearer’s eyes, nose and mouth. Student-athletes must wear these coverings to enter and exit any facilities, but they are not required to wear them during exercise if they maintain a social distance of six feet. The same standard is applicable for “all employees, parents, visitors and students ten years of age or older” who wish to enter any area housing UIL-sanctioned activities.
There are a few exceptions to this face mask rule. A person may not be required to wear a mask if:
- they have a specific medical condition or a disability that prevents them from wearing a mask
- they need to eat or drink
- they are currently in a body of water, such as a pool or lake; or
- they are able to maintain a social distance of at least six feet
2. LOCKER ROOMS, SHOWER FACILITIES OPEN
One of the biggest changes is that student-athletes will now be allowed to enter locker rooms and shower facilities. This is provided that schools have the proper sanitation utilities in place, including hand sanitizer and hand-washing areas. On-site personnel must thoroughly disinfect all surfaces in workout areas during, and at the end of, each practice.
Clothes and towels are not allowed to be cleaned/laundered on site and cannot be shared during workouts. The same goes for food and water. Student-athletes are expected to report to their workouts in the appropriate equipment and return home to shower afterwards.
3. DRILLS, DIRECT COMPETITION ALLOWED
Starting on Monday, coaches are allowed to have student-athletes compete directly against one another in specific drills. That includes physical contact and these drills can incorporate groups of more than one student-athlete. Participants in these drills are not required to wear masks, while those not directly participating must wear them. All of the above regulations still apply.
The UIL has stated that they are still monitoring the CDC’s recommendations and will work with state officials to make any additional adjustments moving forward. Until further notice, schools are allowed to continue these workouts through the month of July, including dates that were initially labeled a “Period of no Activity.”
For more specific information on the UIL’s guidelines and an updated policy regarding student-athletes or coaches that may have been exposed to the virus, visit the UIL’s website here.