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Two days become UIL-recommended week-long break from summer workouts

What was originally a two-day break became a week-long precautionary break for many Texas schools with active summer programs.

On July 1, the University Interscholastic League, Texas’ governing body for many public high school extracurricular activates like sports or performances, issued a recommendation via Twitter suggesting schools suspend summer workouts, rehearsals, practices and instruction from July 3 to July 12 and resume on Monday, July 13.

The recommendation was given as a way to take precautions against heightened potential from exposure to the virus due to July 4 holiday social interactions and increasing COVID-19 spread in the state of Texas in general.

“For schools in areas experiencing community spread of COVID-19, this temporary suspension will reduce risk of exposure and provide an opportunity to review current plans and re-evaluate local context in order to make informed decisions moving forward,” the tweet said.

As fluid as the circumstances have been, the change wasn’t necessarily a disruptive one.

Memorial High School athletic director Brian Morgan is taking full advantage of the break for just such re-evaluations.

Morgan suspended workouts for Memorial’s football program after a player tested positive for COVID-19. He’s now arranged to have the entire varsity football team tested, which he hopes serves as a baseline of data for when the team returns to workouts on July 13.

“Using that model from what the colleges are doing, we can get an idea of if there are any asymptomatic cases walking around that we need to quarantine,” Morgan said. “More than anything when we come back next week, we’ll have test results back on our whole varsity team. That way we know these guys have a clean slate as of July 6, and then we can go from there.”

The athlete that tested positive for the virus is doing well, according to Morgan.

“He’s been fine the whole time,” Morgan said. “You talk to him and he’s anxious to do something. He’s really felt good the whole time and it really wasn’t an issue at all.”
Port Neches-Groves High School athletic director Brandon Faircloth said that, before the break, his school was doing well enough with the weight room occupancy requirements that they haven’t even boosted the number of students allowed in the room from 25 percent capacity to 50 percent, even though the UIL allows it.

“Everything else we didn’t change,” Faircloth said. “We stayed at 25, we never even changed ours. Once the kids get used to it, there’s no reason to change.”

Nederland High School athletic director Monte Barrow said the loss of a few days makes sense.

“Tuesday and Wednesday were dead days put out by the UIL,” he said. “You couldn’t work out those days anyway. They really just added those three after July 4 and in anticipation of a lot of gatherings.

“I guess any day that you’re not together or able to get into the weight room or being able to learn anything, it holds you back. If it’s happening with everyone, you’re not at a disadvantage compared to others, only to yourself. We’ve got to keep our priorities right. As tough as that is to do sometimes, we must make sure we’re doing right by our kids first before football.”