With local high schools looking to resume their voluntary strength and conditioning camps Monday, following a week taken off out of precaution followed by a previously scheduled holiday week, the University Interscholastic League announced updates to its safety protocols for the summer workouts.
“I’m glad they’re opening it up,” Texas City athletic director and head football coach Leland Surovik said. “I think that, eventually, we’re going to have to get back to some normality. We’ll do everything in our power to abide by the guidelines and keep everybody safe.”
Among the most significant changes is an allowance for drills involving one or more student-athletes on offense going up against one or more on defense.
“That was very encouraging,” Surovik said. “They believe that we can get back to doing some things, and if doesn’t spike any more, we can continue to work toward getting the kids back here and getting them to work out and all that good stuff.”
Another update to the safety protocols is a requirement for all coaches, student-athletes and other visitors to the strength and conditioning workouts to wear face coverings, with the only exception being when student-athletes are actively engaged in exercising. Previously, face coverings were optional for student-athletes.
Student-athletes also may now access schools’ locker rooms but will still be required to bring their own water (a gallon, at least, is recommended), towels and other supplies.
Remaining in effect are UIL-mandated restrictions and guidelines that were in place before the summer camps’ two-week hiatus. These include pre-screening surveys regarding COVID-19 symptoms, temperature checks, social distancing during workouts and rigorous cleaning of equipment, among several other guidelines.
The UIL also updated its protocol for those who are confirmed COVID-19 cases, suspected cases or who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
In the case of a person who was diagnosed with or who shows symptoms of COVID-19, that person can return to school when at least 72 hours have passed since recovery, the person has shown improvement in symptoms and at least 10 days have passed since the symptoms first appeared.
If a person showing symptoms wishes to return to school before completing the stay-at-home period, that person must obtain a doctor’s note clearing the person based on an alternate diagnosis or receive two separate negative COVID-19 tests at least 24 hours apart.
Anyone who has had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should stay at home for a 14-day quarantine period, the UIL guidelines state.