In the past two weeks, several signs point to more steps being taken to move Texas to a state more like normal. But, those were just a few steps. The road ahead remains long.
Still, there are signs that normality might be near.
• Next week, Texas high schools’ sports departments can begin voluntary summer workout programs.
• Last week, graduations were held at county high school football stadiums.
• Texas A&M University and the University of Texas announced plans to reopen campuses — including residence halls — in the fall. Still, about 20 percent of classes will be online.
• Bars, restaurants and retailers will be allowed to serve more customers — in some cases immediately — under new orders from Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday to further open the state economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. Abbott’s order for “Phase 3” of the restart also allows for outdoor Fourth of July celebrations of 500 or more at the discretion of local officials.
• On Thursday, the NBA’s Board of Governors approved a 22-team format for restarting the league season in late July at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida — another major step toward getting teams back onto the court and playing games again.
The key to all of this, though, is the procedures in place to protect people from contracting the coronavirus.
State education leaders cautioned schools there could be disruptions or even closures during the upcoming school year. Schools, they said, will have to be extremely flexible in developing plans for reopening.
National health officials have cautioned about a second pandemic wave as more and more restrictions are being lifted.
There is a hopeful sense that things are returning to normal. But again, the road ahead is long and riddled with potholes.
Galveston ISD athletic director Walter Fortune might have put it best when talking about the summer workouts.
“The biggest thing, overall, is just teaching the kids how to work out in this new normal so that we can move forward,” Fortune said. “If this goes well — and this is just my own personal belief — we’ll go back to full competition in August.”
• Dave Mathews