SAN ANTONIO – The University Interscholastic League is taking further steps to ensure school districts and spectators follow proper COVID-19 safety protocols at athletic events after numerous complaints about a lack of social distancing and fans not wearing face coverings during the first weekend of high school football.
The UIL confirmed to KSAT it sent a notice Tuesday to district superintendents regarding updates to COVID-19 guidelines to match the recently updated TEA guidance.
The UIL issued a reminder to districts that stated “it is critical to follow the COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Guidelines so we can continue to offer the opportunity for students to compete in UIL activities this year.”
A spokesperson said allegations of not complying with those guidelines would be handled in the same manner as other UIL violations.
That includes possible sanctions against schools, potentially suspending contests or not allowing the public to enter athletic events.
High schools in 1A to 4A districts were allowed to begin their football seasons last weekend.
Under the current mandate from Gov. Greg Abbott, schools are allowed to have a maximum of 50% capacity for spectators in their stadiums as long as proper social distancing is maintained.
All employees, parents, visitors and students ten years or older must wear face coverings or face shields when they attend an official UIL activity.
There are exceptions listed that include if a person has a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering.
Coaches and players not participating in games should have face coverings at all times as well, per the guidelines.
La Vernia ISD posted on its Facebook page the district is limiting how many tickets would be made available for its home game Friday against Navarro.
“If we want to ensure that we can continue to have fans in the stadium as well as complete the season, it is absolutely necessary that we comply with both the mask order as well as social distancing requirements,” the post read.
The UIL is allowing 5A and 6A schools to start practice on Monday with official games scheduled to start Sept. 24.