AUSTIN, Texas — The University Interscholastic League (UIL) is putting districts across the state on notice after some failed to meet the COVID-19 guidelines set forth by the UIL and Gov. Greg Abbott.
The UIL sent an email to all district superintendents warning of sanctions if guidelines are ignored.
Pittsburg ISD Athletics shared a portion of the letter on Twitter.
The letter reads in part:
Athletic Directors and Football Coaches,
As we continue into fall seasons, it is critical that schools are diligent these risk-mitigation guidelines.
Schools are still required to follow Governor Abbott's Executive Order GA-29 related to face coverings.
Schools may allow spectators to attend contests up to a maximum of 50% of the venue's capacity, provided appropriate spacing as prescribed in the guidelines is maintained.
UIL has posted some sample pre-game and public address announcements online that schools may help remind spectators of the guidelines to be followed.
Schools not following these guidelines are subject to sanctions, including suspension of contests or discontinuation of public access to games by the local UIL District Executive Committee and/or UIL State Executive Committee.
Gov. Abbott's GA-29 states every person in Texas shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public, or when in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household.
However, the face-covering requirement does not apply to the following:
Any person younger than 10 years of age;
Any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering;
Any person while the person is consuming food or drink, or is seated at a restaurant to eat or drink;
Any person while the person is (a) exercising outdoors or engaging in physical activity outdoors, and (b) maintaining a safe distance from other people not in the same household;
Any person while the person is driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver;
Any person obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the face covering for security surveillance, screening, or a need for specific access to the face, such as while visiting a bank or while obtaining a personal care service involving the face, but only to the extent necessary for the temporary removal; 7
Any person while the person is in a swimming pool, lake, or similar body of water;
Any person who is voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poli watcher, or actively administering an election, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged;
Any person who is actively providing or obtaining access to religious worship, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged;
Any person while the person is giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience; or
Any person in a county (a) that meets the requisite criteria promulgated by the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) regarding minimal cases of COVID-19, and (b) whose county judge has affirmatively opted-out of this face-covering requirement by filing with TDEM the required face-covering attestation form—provided, however, that wearing a face covering is highly recommended, and every county is strongly encouraged to follow these face-covering standards.
Not excepted from this face-covering requirement is any person attending a protest, demonstration or event involving more than 10 people and who is not practicing safe social distancing of six feet from other people not in the same household.
The UIL also updated their COVID-19 risk mitigation guidelines on Tuesday:
The following guidance related to UIL activities, based on the public health situation as we understand it today, applies to the 2020-2021 school year. This guidance is effective immediately. Changes to the public health situation in the coming months may necessitate changes to this guidance.
Given the varying numbers of COVID-19 cases across different areas of the state, and the vast geographic area in the state of Texas, UIL is presenting modifications for the 2020-21 school year that reflect the situation at this time. UIL will continue to work with state officials and monitor CDC and other federal guidance to determine any potential modifications that may become necessary. Schools should be prepared for the possibility of interruptions in contest schedules. District Executive Committees should work and plan to accommodate, as best possible, for these interruptions.
These guidelines are in addition to guidance issued by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and intended to be implemented along with TEA guidance, which applies to academic and extracurricular non-UIL activities. The information below includes a requirement for schools to develop a plan for mitigating risk of COVID-19 spread during UIL activities. Schools should take their local context into account and follow all state requirements when considering UIL activities.
It is recommended that each school identify a staff member or group of staff members to serve as compliance officer(s) to oversee effective use of these protocols. Schools must follow all requirements of state authorities in addition to the requirements below.