TEXAS, USA — The University Interscholastic League (UIL) released an updated schedule for the fall sports season on July 21.
1A through 4A schools will start on time. 5A and 6A schools with football will be allowed to practice on Sept. 7 and hold games on Sept. 24.
“Our goal in releasing this plan is to provide a path forward for Texas students and schools,” said UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt. “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.”
UIL officials said this plan provides a delay for schools in highly-populated metro areas – primarily conferences in 5A and 6A – given the challenges with COVID-19 those communities are facing, while providing schools in other areas, primarily 1A through 4A, an opportunity to start seasons on schedule.
"Acknowledging 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," UIL officials said in a press release.
Additionally, the COVID-19 risk mitigation guidelines for the 2020-2021 school year can be found online, which includes guidance around face coverings, general operations and the protocol for individuals confirmed or exposed to COVID-19, congregate settings for places such as band halls and locker rooms, practice and rehearsal activities, spectators and media and concession stands and food service.
These guidelines provided by the UIL are in addition to guidance issued by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and intended to be implemented along with TEA guidance, which applies to UIL academic activities and extracurricular non-UIL activities.
"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 officials said in the press release.
State championship games for 5A and 6A will now take place in January as well.