SAN ANGELO, TX – Some of the things that come to mind when you think of Texas are bluebonnets, cowboy hats, and Texas high school football. With the pandemic response shutting down public schools for the rest of the year, the question on many minds is, will high school football be played in 2020?
The University Interscholastic League (UIL) announced on March 12 that boys and girls state basketball tournaments were canceled due to COVID-19 fears. One day later, the UIL canceled the remainder of spring sports that included baseball, softball, track, tennis, and golf. The idea of canceling all these sports might have stopped the spread of COVID-19. In Levelland, a town outside of Lubbock, the public school there hosted a regional boys basketball tournament a week prior to the UIL canceling the remainder of the season of sports. After the tournament, Hockley County officials told KLVT that a number of people at the games were exposed and contracted COVID-19.
The UIL and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) are working hand in hand to figure out every scenario possible. The four scenarios that TEA commissioner Mike Morath sees are either
- starting school on time,
- start in August with some restrictions in place,
- start in August with restrictions and micro-closures (3-5 days at a time) at campuses as needed, or
- don't start in-person classes until January.
Abilene ISD superintendent Dr. David Young said there is not much of a chance that school will start as normal this fall. San Angelo Superintendent Dr. Carl Dethloff has other thoughts.
“We continue to monitor our current reality in a COVID landscape and plan toward the future We are working toward an August start date, but prepared to be agile if conditions change," said Dr. Dethloff. "As of this morning (April 30) , we are seeing an increase in the number of public and private colleges and universities that are planning to open in August. I anticipate these decisions may impact what we do in a public education environment and support a an August start date. Regardless of when we open our doors, these are the questions we continually ask ourselves, ‘What do we want innovation to look like? How can we be more intentional in a virtual learning platform? What have we learned from the past 8 weeks in creating opportunities for our students to be future ready?’ San Angelo ISD will make every effort possible to promote public health in our community, and continue to provide an engaging and inspiring education for our students.”
The UIL met on May 1 and decided to extend their declaration and continue to monitor COVID-19 and its response.
"We are hoping with all hope that we can resume sometime this summer with our off-season conditioning programs and our opportunities for coaches to work with students," said UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithauptthen. "Then we will open with our band students and marching band sometime in July but that may not happen."
San Angelo LIVE! reached out to the UIL and asked if sports would return. They said, "Due to the rapidly-evolving and uncertain nature of this situation, we are not able to address the fall season at this point. UIL continues to follow the direction of state authorities and any updates will be shared to our COVID 19 information page here."