UIL releases plans to allow summer strength and conditioning

The Jourdanton Squaw volleyball team conducts a workout in August 2019. Under the UIL’s new guidelines, fewer athletes will be able to workout together during summer workout sessions. JOE DAVID CORDOVA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

AUSTIN — The UIL has released their guidelines that will allow schools to conduct their summer strength and conditioning programs starting on June 8.

The plans were released after the UIL announced on Tuesday, May 19, its intent to allow summer strength and conditioning to return in June amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“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,” said UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt in a statement. “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.”

Locker room and shower areas are to remain closed for the foreseeable future. Student-athletes participating in workouts are urged to show up in the appropriate workout gear that their coaches say to wear.

It’s required that all workout equipment be thoroughly sanitized before and after each use and that hand sanitizer and washing stations be readily available for each workout.

Sport-specific drills may be conducted, but there can be no shared equipment between workout groups, such as footballs. After one group uses a ball, the UIL says it “must be thoroughly disinfected” before another group can use it.

The UIL requires one coach per 20 students in attendance of summer workouts with capacity in the weight room limited to 25%.  All workout stations must be spaced 10 feet apart under the UIL’s new requirements as well. Each coach should be assigned to one specific group and one specific group only for the duration of the summer workout program. The UIL recommends that in order to “minimize the number of students and staff that must isolate if a case is confirmed.”

Should an athlete or coach confirmed to have the coronavirus, the group that person is assigned has to be removed from the sessions per the UIL’s new rules. Anyone believed to have symptoms of COVID-19 will be treated as if they do have symptoms of the virus and not allowed to return to workouts until they meet the UIL’s criteria for safe return.

A full list of the UIL’s new requirements can be found here.

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