Lone Star Gridiron

UIL announces updates to Athletics Rules

The previously announced “Period of no Activity” dates of July 20-21, 2020 have been rescinded, allowing schools to open facilities to student-athletes.

  • All employees, parents, visitors and students ten years of age or older must wear face coverings or face shields upon entry to an area where UIL activities are being conducted and when not actively practicing or exercising, unless an exception applies, as outlined in the full document
  • Students may access locker rooms and engage in drills that involve one or more students on offense against one or more students on defense beginning 7/13/20
  • Updates of required protocol for individuals confirmed, suspected or exposed to COVID-19

Requirements for All Workouts

Consider having an individual or group of individuals wholly or partially dedicated to ensuring health protocols are being successfully implemented and followed. Schools must follow all requirements of state and local authorities in addition to the requirements below:

Face Coverings- Executive Order GA-29

Executive Order GA-29, regarding face coverings, applies to all UIL activities effective July 3, 2020. This includes all 2020 summer activities and in-season activities for the 2020-2021 school year. As the public health situation changes, and/or if subsequent Executive Orders are issued by Governor Greg Abbott, these guidelines may be further modified.

  1. For the purposes of this document, masks and face coverings include non-medical grade disposable face masks, cloth face coverings (over the nose and mouth), or full-face shields to protect eyes, nose, and mouth.  Face shields may be superior to cloth face coverings in many circumstances, given improved ability to see mouth movements and improved air circulation.
  2. All employees, parents, visitors and students ten years of age or older must wear face coverings or face shields upon entry to an area where UIL activities are being conducted and when not actively exercising, unless an exception listed below applies.
  3. The face coverings requirements do not apply to a school in a county that meets the requirements of paragraph 11 of Executive Order GA-29, unless the local school system chooses to implement these requirements locally. Even in these circumstances, the wearing of face coverings or face shields is strongly encouraged.
  4. Exceptions to the wearing of face coverings or face shields include:
  • Any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering;
  • While a person is consuming food or drink;
  • While the person is in a pool, lake, or similar body of water.
  • When a congregating group of persons maintains at least 6 feet of social distancing; or
  • Any other reason or circumstance indicated under Executive Order GA-29.

For the purposes of summer workouts, schools must require students, staff, and visitors to wear face coverings when entering and exiting facilities and practice areas, and when not actively exercising. Schools may, for example, allow students who are actively exercising to remove face coverings as long as they maintain at least six feet of distance from other students and staff who are not wearing face coverings. However, schools must require students and staff to wear face coverings as they get into positions that allow them to maintain safe distancing.

Required Screening Before Attending or Participating in Activities

Schools must follow TEA screening requirements and screen staff members before allowing staff to participate in UIL activities. Schools may consider screening students for COVID-19 as well. These protocols mirror the guidelines issued by TEA for school operations.

If a student or staff member has been screened by the school for purposes of participating in instruction, there is no reason to screen separately before allowing the staff or student to participate in UIL activities. Please see the TEA website for the most current screening guidance.

  1. School systems must require teachers and staff to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms before being allowed to participate in UIL activities each day. Symptoms are listed at the end of this document. The self-screening should include teachers and staff taking their own temperature. Teachers and staff must report to the school system if they themselves have COVID-19 symptoms or are lab-confirmed with COVID-19, and if so they must remain off campus until they meet the criteria for re-entry as noted below.  Additionally, they must report to the school system if they have had close contact with an individual who is lab-confirmed with COVID-19, as defined at the end of this document, and if so must remain off campus until the 14-day incubation period has passed.
  2. Parents must ensure they do not send a student to participate in UIL activities if the student has COVID-19 symptoms (as listed in this document) or is lab-confirmed with COVID-19 until the below conditions for re-entry are met. School systems may consider screening students for COVID-19 as well.  Screening is accomplished by asking questions by phone or other electronic methods and/or in person. The screening questions should also be asked of a student’s parent if that parent will be dropping off or picking up their student from inside areas where UIL activities are being conducted.
  3. Before visitors are allowed access to areas where UIL activities are being conducted, school systems must screen all visitors to determine if they themselves have COVID-19 symptoms (as listed in this document) or are lab-confirmed with COVID-19, and if so they must remain off-campus and away from areas where UIL activities are being conducted until they meet the criteria for re-entry as noted below.  Additionally, school systems must screen to determine if visitors have had close contact with an individual who is lab-confirmed with COVID-19, and if so they must remain off-campus and away from areas where UIL activities are being conducted until the 14-day incubation period has passed. When practical, screening questions could be supplemented with temperature checks of adults.
  4. Schools are permitted to prevent any individual who fails the screening criteria from being admitted into school facilities or sites where UIL activities are being conducted until they meet the criteria for re-entry as described below. Any individual for whom screening cannot be confirmed should be presumed symptomatic until confirmed otherwise.

Other Requirements and Operational Considerations

  • Attendance at workouts must be optional for students and in compliance with the rules for Summer Strength/Conditioning Programs & Sport Specific Skill Instruction noted below. In addition to on-campus workout options, schools should consider providing students guidance for working out at home or remotely away from school. This can include virtual workouts, emailed or otherwise electronically delivered workout instructions, or any delivery model approved by the local school district.
  • Attendance records shall be kept, however, students shall not be required or allowed to make up missed days or workouts.
  • Fees, if any, shall be established by the superintendent and collected by the school. Any payment to coaches shall be from the school and from no other source.
  • Schools must develop mitigation plans as described above in order to provide students access to locker rooms and shower facilities beginning July 13, 2020. Students may not be given access to locker rooms or shower facilities prior to that date. Students should report to workouts in proper gear and immediately return home to shower at end of the workout.
  • Schools should have hand sanitizer or hand-washing stations readily available in the workout area. Students and staff should be encouraged to use it frequently.
  • All surfaces in workout areas should be thoroughly disinfected throughout and at the end of each day.
  • No clothing or towels may be laundered on site or shared during workouts.
  • There can be no shared water or food.
  • Schools should plan for entry and exit procedures that reduce the number of students and parents congregating outside and/or mixing around the workout areas and parking areas. Consider staggering start and end times, assigning students to entries and exits to ensure even distribution of students entering/exiting at each entry point, providing guidance to students to enter one at a time and wait six feet apart outside the entrance.
  • If the school is planning to offer transportation for summer activities, schools should follow all TEA guidance related to such transportation.

* Schools should consider having students remain with a single group or cohort to minimize the number of students and staff that must isolate if a case is confirmed. See Positive Cases and Staff or Students Showing COVID Symptoms at the bottom of this document.

As things change, the UIL will keep things updated on their website. HERE

What are your thoughts?