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“A path forward for Texas students and schools,”
Tasked with laying out a plan for opening up high school sports in the safest possible way, the University Interscholastic League announced a revised schedule for the fall season Tuesday morning, July 21.
The biggest revision in the schedule was the breakdown of start dates to two catergories. Schools in Classes 5A and 6A will now open the year on September 7 with initial workouts. Volleyball games can begin on September 14 and football can start on September 24.
Schools in the lower 4A, 3A, 2A, and 1A classifications can begin at the original start dates of August 3 for workouts. Volleyball games can begin August 10 and football on August 27.
Pearsall is currently in Class 4A and Dilley and Cotulla are both Class 3A.
“Our goal in releasing this plan is to provide a path forward for Texas students and schools,” UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt said. “While understanding situations change and there will likely be interruptions that will require flexibility and patience, we are hopeful this plan allows students to participate in the education-based activities they love in a way that prioritizes safety and mitigates risk of COVID-19 spread.”
While the announcement lays the groundwork for the fall sports season, local districts will still need to account for local government mandates that ultimately spell out when extra-curricular activities can begin.
With many schools opting for distance or virtual learning to open the year, many health and government officials are not allowing extra-curricular activities to begin until students are physically back in classes.
The announcement did little to clarify the situation locally as Pearsall, Dilley and Cotulla have not made decisions on when to allow extra-curricular activities to begin.
“We are prohibited from extracurricular activities as of right now,” Pearsall ISD Athletic Director Edward Bocanegra said. “We are waiting for more information from city and county officials.”
PISD Superintendent Dr. Nobert Rodriguez said that the district would offer 100 percent remote learning for the first four weeks of the year under the Texas Education Agency’s updated guidelines, with a possible return to campus date of September 8. He did note that the district would also consider allowing limited access to on-campus instruction for an additional four weeks after that, as allowed by TEA.
In Dilley, discussions continue in regards to a possible start date.
“At this moment our district is still in discussions in regards to start date,” Dilley ISD Athletic Director Lamar Rodriguez said.
Cotulla ISD Athletic Director David Silva likewise said Cotulla would be beginning at a later date than the UIL’s recommendation.
“The earliest for us would be August 17,” Silva said. “That is unless virtual learning is extended or county officials impose a stop to open facilities.”
Depending on dates in which they are set to begin, Dilley and Cotulla’s football schedules could see some change, but likely only the elimination of a single scrimmage.
The UIL’s announcement, however, completely alters Pearsall’s pre-district schedule, effectively eliminating three of the team’s first four games.
The Mavericks were set to open the year against San Antonio Burbank and SA Lanier, both 5A schools. Pearsall was then going to take on Holy Cross on September 18. The Knights are a TAPPS member and that organization has elected to delay the start of their season until September 7.
“Yeah, weeks one, two and four are done,” Bocanegra said of his schedule. “I’m currently working on replacing those games.”
The biggest changes involving volleyball will be limiting the season to 29 matches and no invitational tournaments. Scrimmages are limited to no more than four teams and the regional playoff tournament will have separate playing dates for finals and semifinals.
Cross country teams in the 4A, 3A, 2A, and 1A levels can begin competition on August 17.