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5A-6A schools kickoff first day of practice Monday

With continued strict guidelines, the UIL threatens schools with canceling games and banning fans if coronavirus guidelines are not followed

5A and 6A schools kicked off their first official day of practice on Monday. While there is excitement around the upcoming season for the bigger schools starting, the University Interscholastic League is buckling down on guidelines being met. 

Following the 1A-4A kickoff for high school football, the UIL made it very clear in a letter to coaches and schools that it is threatening sanctions: banning fans and cancellation of games if schools do not follow the COVID-19 guidelines.

The UIL sent out the letter following seeing phtotos and videos of fans at games not wearing face masks or properly social distancing in the stands. If it comes down to it, the UIL will fully shut down sports.

(Per KENS 5): The UIL letter to schools reads in part:

Athletic Directors and Football Coaches, 

As we continue into fall seasons, it is critical that schools are diligent these risk-mitigation guidelines. 

Schools are still required to follow Governor Abbott's Executive Order GA-29 related to face coverings. 

Schools may allow spectators to attend contests up to a maximum of 50% of the venue's capacity, provided appropriate spacing as prescribed in the guidelines is maintained. 

UIL has posted some sample pre-game and public address announcements online that schools may help remind spectators of the guidelines to be followed.

Schools not following these guidelines are subject to sanctions, including suspension of contests or discontinuation of public access to games by the local UIL District Executive Committee and/or UIL State Executive Committee.

Gov. Abbott's GA-29 states every person in Texas shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public, or when in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household.

However, the face-covering requirement does not apply to the following:

  1. Any person younger than 10 years of age; 
  2. Any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering;
  3. Any person while the person is consuming food or drink, or is seated at a restaurant to eat or drink;
  4. Any person while the person is (a) exercising outdoors or engaging in physical activity outdoors, and (b) maintaining a safe distance from other people not in the same household; 
  5. Any person while the person is driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver; 
  6. Any person obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the face covering for security surveillance, screening, or a need for specific access to the face, such as while visiting a bank or while obtaining a personal care service involving the face, but only to the extent necessary for the temporary removal; 7
  7. Any person while the person is in a swimming pool, lake, or similar body of water; 
  8. Any person who is voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poli watcher, or actively administering an election, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged; 
  9. Any person who is actively providing or obtaining access to religious worship, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged; 
  10. Any person while the person is giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience; or 
  11. Any person in a county (a) that meets the requisite criteria promulgated by the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) regarding minimal cases of COVID-19, and (b) whose county judge has affirmatively opted-out of this face-covering requirement by filing with TDEM the required face-covering attestation form—provided, however, that wearing a face covering is highly recommended, and every county is strongly encouraged to follow these face-covering standards.