GALVESTON COUNTY

The University Interscholastic League on Friday released requirements and guidelines for limited athletics summer strength and conditioning and marching band practice, which earlier in the week the UIL announced could start June 8 as restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic begin to be lifted across the state of Texas.

UIL schools may, but are not required to, begin summer strength and conditioning and sport specific instruction beginning June 8.

While some of the UIL’s newly released requirements and guidelines regarding social distancing and sanitation include specifics, others were left to individual school districts to determine.

“It’s more broad than we thought it would be,” Friendswood ISD athletic director and head football coach Robert Koopmann said. “As a district, we haven’t made a decision yet on how far we’re going to go with these recommendations. Tuesday morning, we’re going to meet to figure it out.”

Friendswood High School typically has one of the more well attended summer workout programs in the county, with not just football players, but athletes spanning all the sports offered.

“People think it’s just a football issue, but we’ve got 900 UIL athletes on campus, so it’s about how we’re going to handle all of the other programs, also,” Koopmann said. “We call it MAC — Mustang Athletic Camp. That’s our strength and conditioning program. Typically, we have a football session, a boys non-football session, and a girls session. So, we get quite a few kids in; it’s not just football.”

The UIL stated it will continue to work with state officials and monitor federal guidance to determine any potential modifications.

To view the UIL coronavirus-related guidelines, find this article at galvnews.com.

The UIL recommended having an individual 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 for all workouts:

• Attendance at workouts must be optional for students and in compliance with the rules for summer strength and conditioning programs and 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.

• Students may not be given access to locker rooms or shower facilities. Students should report to workouts in proper gear and immediately return home to shower at end of the workout.

• During workouts, schools must have at least one staff member per 20 students in attendance to ensure appropriate social distancing, hygiene and safety measures are implemented.

• Schools must 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 must 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.

• Before the start of summer workouts, and at the start of every week of summer workouts, schools should consider pre-screening all students for COVID symptoms that they or others living in their house may experience. This can be completed by phone prior to the first day of workouts, in person or in writing. Students and staff must self-screen every day for COVID-19 symptoms for themselves and family members. Schools should consider taking the temperature of each student each day at the start of the conditioning sessions, if possible.

• 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 6 feet apart outside the entrance.

• If the school is planning to offer transportation for summer activities, schools should follow all TEA guidance and local 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.

STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING WORKOUTS

In addition to the above requirements for all workouts, the following applies to strength and conditioning activities:

• Sessions for strength and conditioning may be conducted by school coaches for students in grades 7-12 from that coach’s attendance zone.

• A strength and conditioning session shall be no more than two consecutive hours per day, Monday through Friday.

• A student shall attend no more than one session per day.

• Strength and conditioning sessions shall include only strength and conditioning instruction and exercises. No specific sports skills shall be taught and no specific sports equipment, such as balls, dummies, sleds, contact equipment, etc., shall be used.

• Except for reasonable safety considerations, such as spotting, students and staff must maintain at least 6 feet of distance from all sides when not actively exercising. When actively exercising, students and coaches must maintain at least 10 feet of distance from all sides when possible. Schools should consider requiring students who are not actively exercising but are spotting to wear cloth face masks.

• Indoor workout activities can be conducted up to a maximum of 25 percent.

• Schools should limit the total number of participants based on available space to allow for the appropriate distancing between students and staff.

• Workout stations must be spaced to allow for at least 10 feet of distance between them in all directions. Some exercises may require more than 10 feet of distance.

• Any equipment must be thoroughly disinfected before and after each use. If a student uses a piece of equipment, that equipment must be thoroughly disinfected before another student uses it. Schools should limit the use of equipment to further reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

SPORT-SPECIFIC INSTRUCTION

In addition to the above requirements for all workouts, the following applies to sport-specific instruction:

• Sessions for sport specific instruction may be conducted by school coaches for students in grades 7-12 from that coach’s attendance zone.

• Sessions may be conducted in addition to the strength and conditioning session(s), and a student shall attend no more than 90 minutes per day of sport specific skill instruction with no more than 60 minutes per day in a given sport, Monday through Friday (for example, 60 minutes of football and 30 minutes of basketball).

• Sport specific skill sessions may include specific sports equipment, but contact equipment (restricted equipment) is not allowed. School shorts, shirts and shoes may be provided by the school (local school option) but may not be laundered on-site.

• No competitive drills involving one or more students on offensive against one or more students on defensive may be conducted. Examples include: Basketball players may participate in drills, but cannot conduct drills/activities against a defender. In football, offensive/defensive drills are allowed, but no 7-on-7 or offense vs. defense drills are allowed.

For outdoor sport-specific activities:

• Students and staff must maintain at least 6 feet of distance from all sides when not actively exercising. When actively exercising, students and coaches must maintain at least 10 feet of distance from all sides when possible.

• Schools should limit the total number of participants based on available space to allow for the appropriate distancing between students and staff.

• Students may be placed in working groups no larger than 15 total students. Each working group should maintain appropriate distance from other working groups.

• Any equipment, such as sports balls, should be regularly disinfected during workout sessions. This equipment should not be shared between groups. After a group has used such equipment, that equipment must be thoroughly disinfected before being used by a different group.

For indoor sport-specific activities:

• Students and staff must maintain at least 6 feet of distance from all sides when not actively exercising. When actively exercising, students and coaches must maintain at least 10 feet of distance from all sides when possible.

• Schools should limit the total number of participants based on available space to allow for the appropriate distancing between students and staff.

• Indoor workout activities can be conducted up to a maximum of 25 percent capacity.

• Students may be placed in working groups no larger than 10 total students. Each working group should maintain appropriate distance from other working groups.

• Any equipment, such as sports balls, should be regularly disinfected during workout sessions. This equipment should not be shared between groups. After a group has used such equipment, that equipment must be thoroughly disinfected before being used by a different group.

COVID-19 POSITIVE CASES/SYMPTOMS

If a positive case is identified among a participant in these summer activities, either staff or student, the group to which that staff or student was assigned and in contact with must be removed from the sessions while all members of the group self-isolate. If the confirmed individual regularly had close contact outside a single group, then all of the students and staff with whom the confirmed individual had close contact shall be removed from workouts for two weeks.

Any staff member or student who experiences any of the symptoms of COVID (listed below) should self-isolate until the below conditions have been met.

• In the case of an individual who was diagnosed with COVID-19, the individual may visit when all three of the following criteria are met: at least 72 hours have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications); and the individual has improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared; or

• In the case of an individual who has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and does not get evaluated by a medical professional or tested for COVID-19, the individual is assumed to have COVID-19, and the individual may not return to work until the individual has completed the same three-step criteria listed above; or

• If the individual has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and wants to return to work before completing the above self-isolation period, the individual must obtain a medical professional’s note clearing the individual for return based on an alternative diagnosis.

Any student or staff member living with someone who experiences any of the symptoms of COVID, whether they have a positive COVID test or not, should self-isolate for two weeks. If they do not experience any COVID symptoms during that period, they can return to summer workouts. If they experience symptoms, they must self-isolate until the conditions outlined above have been met.

COVID symptoms for screening:

• Cough

• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

• Chills

• Repeated shaking with chills

• Muscle pain

• Headache

• Sore throat

• Loss of taste or smell

• Diarrhea

• Feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100 degrees Fahrenheit

• Known close contact with a person who is a lab confirmed to have COVID-19

James LaCombe: 409-683-5242, james.lacombe@galvnews.com or on Twitter @JamesAtGalvNews

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