FORNEY, Texas — Yesterday, as restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic begin to be lifted across the state, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) released requirements and guidelines for summer strength and conditioning and marching band practices, which may begin June 8, 2020.
"Schools may use discretion when considering whether or not to offer in-person programs, and areas of the state facing COVID-19 related challenges should consult with local health officials to determine what additional restrictions, if any, should be added to these guidelines," read a statement from UIL.
"Schools deciding to move forward with offering in-person activities are encouraged to do so carefully and with vigilance, ensuring safety requirements outlined in this approach are closely adhered to in order to mitigate risk," continued the statement.
In announcing the guidelines, the league says the guidance is subject to changed based on modifications to COVID-19 restrictions and guidance from local, state, and federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Forney Independent School District Athletic Director Neal Weaver stated, in a Wednesday letter to students and teachers, plans of action will be proposed — based on UIL guidance, state guidelines, and Forney ISD safety procedures — and approved by the school district, details of which will be announced in the coming days.
"We will share detailed plans for workouts once finalized, but remember, there is no substitute for personal judgment, so success in providing a productive and safe workout environment is a team effort and depends on cooperation and dedication from every student athlete and every coach!" stated Weaver, in part. "When student athletes return to campuses for summer strength and conditioning it will be the first such student activity since school was closed, and it will be an approved exception to the general campus closure, so it is imperative that we get it right and phase in access and activity."
“We are cautiously optimistic about beginning summer strength and conditioning programs and marching band practices that safely allow students to get back to working with their coaches and directors in preparation for the 2020-2021 school year,” stated UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt. “While we are eager to resume UIL activities, we must do so carefully, deliberately and with an understanding that major adjustments are needed to ensure safety. The requirements outline an approach designed to help schools mitigate risk while ensuring students are physically prepared to return to activities in the Fall, should state and federal guidelines allow.”
UIL guidelines on summer strength and conditioning and marching band practices can be found on the UIL's website, here:
Weaver's complete letter to students and parents:
Greetings Student Athletes and Families!
With our State’s reopening in process and after yesterday’s long-awaited email from UIL, there is much anticipation of inviting student-athletes back to campus for strength and conditioning. After three months away from coaches, friends, and fields, we are anxious to get back!
It is important to note that FISD campuses and facilities remain closed to general use throughout the month of June. Only activities that follow state guidelines and FISD safety procedures, with plans of action proposed to and approved by the school district, will be allowed. No other in-person school activities or gatherings may take place. Therefore, as soon as details are provided from the UIL, we will complete our plan.
FISD Athletic staff has been working on multiple contingencies, considering details of such a potential opening for weeks, so we will be ready to propose and provide the safest possible environment for opening phased workouts when we we receive the guidelines and obtain FISD permission. We will enact protocols as directed, and perhaps in addition to recommended procedures, working together to minimize risk for each participant and staff member who enters campus.
We will share detailed plans for workouts once finalized, but remember, there is no substitute for personal judgment, so success in providing a productive and safe workout environment is a team effort and depends on cooperation and dedication from every student athlete and every coach!
When student athletes return to campuses for summer strength and conditioning it will be the first such student activity since school was closed, and it will be an approved exception to the general campus closure, so it is imperative that we get it right and phase in access and activity.
We expect our coaches, athletic trainers, and student athletes to LEAD the way in behaviors and dedication to safety for everyone. We are fired up to be moving toward a re-start of workouts, of sports, and of the shared personal growth of each FISD student athlete!