Texas releases summer workout rules

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The University Interscholastic League is moving forward toward the resumption of summer workouts on June 8. Friday, the UIL released its guidelines/rules players, coaches and schools must follow as we move forward with high school sports during the coronavirus pandemic.

Related: UIL allows summer workouts to begin June 8

Summer strength and conditioning workouts will be limited to two hours per day Monday through Friday. Below are other guidelines for those sessions from the UIL:

Strength and Conditioning

  • Sessions for strength and conditioning may be conducted by school coaches for students in grades 7-12 from that coach’s attendance zone. 
  • A strength and conditioning session shall be no more than two consecutive hours per day, Monday through Friday. 
  • A student shall attend no more than one session per day.
  • Strength and conditioning sessions shall include only strength and conditioning instruction and exercises. No specific sports skills shall be taught and no specific sports equipment, such as balls, dummies, sleds, contact equipment, etc., shall be used.
  • Except for reasonable safety considerations, such as spotting, students and staff must maintain at least six feet of distance from all sides when not actively exercising. When actively exercising, students and coaches must maintain at least ten feet of distance from all sides when possible. Schools should consider requiring students who are not actively exercising, but are spotting, to wear cloth face masks. 
  • Indoor workout activities can be conducted up to a maximum of 25% capacity.
  • Schools should limit the total number of participants based on available space to allow for the appropriate distancing between students and staff. 
  • Workout stations must be spaced to allow for at least ten feet of distance between them in all directions. Some exercises may require more than ten feet of distance. 
  • Any equipment must be thoroughly disinfected before and after each use. If a student uses a piece of equipment, that equipment must be thoroughly disinfected before another student uses it. Schools should limit the use of equipment to further reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Below are the requirements that must be met for all workouts per the UIL:

Consider having an individual wholly or partially dedicated to ensuring health protocols are being successfully implemented and followed. Schools must follow all requirements of state and local authorities in addition to the requirements below:

  • Attendance at workouts must be optional for students and in compliance with the rules for Summer Strength/Conditioning Programs & Sport Specific Skill Instruction noted below. In addition to on-campus workout options, schools should consider providing students guidance for working out at home or remotely away from school. This can include virtual workouts, emailed or otherwise electronically delivered workout instructions, or any delivery model approved by the local school district. 
  • Attendance records shall be kept, however, students shall not be required or allowed to make up missed days or workouts. 
  • Fees, if any, shall be established by the superintendent and collected by the school. Any payment to coaches shall be from the school and from no other source.
  • Students may not be given access to locker rooms or shower facilities. Students should report to workouts in proper gear and immediately return home to shower at end of the workout.
  • During workouts, schools must have at least one staff member per twenty students in attendance to ensure appropriate social distancing, hygiene, and safety measures are implemented. 
  • Schools must have hand sanitizer or hand-washing stations readily available in the workout area. Students and staff should be encouraged to use it frequently.
  • All surfaces in workout areas must be thoroughly disinfected throughout and at the end of each day.
  • No clothing or towels may be laundered on site or shared during workouts.
  • There can be no shared water or food.
  • Before the start of summer workouts, and at the start of every week of summer workouts, schools should consider pre-screening all students for COVID symptoms that they or others living in their house may experience. This can be completed by phone prior to the first day of workouts, in person or in writing. Students and staff must self-screen every day for COVID-19 symptoms for themselves and family members. Schools should consider taking the temperature of each student each day at the start of the conditioning sessions, if possible.
  • Schools should plan for entry and exit procedures that reduce the number of students and parents congregating outside and/or mixing around the workout areas and parking areas. Consider staggering start and end times, assigning students to entries and exits to ensure even distribution of students entering/exiting at each entry point, providing guidance to students to enter one at a time and wait six feet apart outside the entrance.
  • If the school is planning to offer transportation for summer activities, schools should follow all TEA guidance and local guidance related to such transportation.

* Schools should consider having students remain with a single group or cohort to minimize the number of students and staff that must isolate if a case is confirmed. 

Specific for football, teams will be allowed to conduct offensive and defensive drills, but they will not be allowed to have 7-on-7 workouts or any practices where the offense goes against the defense.

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.