AUSTIN–Following Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s announcement March 2 lifting the mask mandate and allowing businesses to return to 100% capacity, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) has announced updates to its COVID-19 policy regarding high school sports in the state.
The UIL is still requiring spectators and participants to wear masks or face coverings “upon entry to an area where UIL activities are being conducted and when not actively practicing or participating in the contest, and wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household.”
In accordance with the Texas Education Agency, however, the UIL said mask-related requirements may be modified or eliminated by the formal action of the governing board of a school system.
As the public health situation changes and/or if subsequent Executive Orders are issued by Governor Greg Abbott, these guidelines may be further modified.
1. For the purposes of this document, face coverings include non-medical grade disposable face masks, cloth face coverings (over the nose and mouth). Where masks are required, full-face shields may be used in place of a mask to protect eyes, nose and mouth whenever a mask is not feasible or whenever the educational/competitive context may benefit from the ability to see an individual’s full face.
2. Schools must comply with the following requirements:
Every student, teacher or staff member shall wear a mask over the nose and mouth upon entry to an area where UIL activities are being conducted and when not actively practicing or participating in the contest, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household, unless an exception listed below applies:
•Any person younger than 10 years of age, except where a school system determines it is developmentally appropriate;
•Any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a mask;
•Any person while the person is consuming food or drink, or is seated in a dining area to eat or drink;
•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; or
•Any person while the person is giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience.
•The above mask-wearing requirements do not apply to any school system that was exempted from the face covering requirements of Executive Order GA-29 during its effect due to a county judge attestation filed with the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
•The above mask-related requirements may be modified or eliminated by the formal action of the governing board of a school system.
3. In addition to the mask-wearing requirements listed above, school systems may require the use of masks or face shields for adults or students for whom it is developmentally appropriate.
4. It may be impractical for students to wear masks or face shields while participating in some UIL athletic activities. In situations where masks are required by this guidance and when it is impractical for students to wear masks or face shields during those activities in which masks are required by this guidance or a school system’s governing board, schools must require students, teachers, staff and visitors to wear masks or face shields when entering and exiting facilities and practice areas and when not actively engaging in those activities. Schools may, for example, allow students who are actively exercising to remove masks or face shields, as long as they maintain at least six feet of distance from other students, teachers and staff who are not wearing masks or face shields. However, schools must require students, teachers and staff to wear masks or face shields, where masks are required by this guidance or a school system’s governing board, as they arrange themselves in positions that will allow them to maintain safe distancing.