TEXAS, USA — The University Interscholastic League is threatening sanctions, including the banning of fans and cancellation of games, for Texas schools that do not follow coronavirus guidelines.
The UIL even said it may fully shut down sports. This comes after UIL officials saw photos from football season openers at 4A schools and below last week with fans not wearing masks or properly socially distancing.
North East ISD in San Antonio shared a message on Twitter about the letter they received from the UIL, asking fans to "not be that person."
The letter reads in part:
Athletic Directors and Football Coaches,
As we continue into fall seasons, it is critical that schools are diligent these risk-mitigation guidelines.
Schools are still required to follow Governor Abbott's Executive Order GA-29 related to face coverings.
Schools may allow spectators to attend contests up to a maximum of 50% of the venue's capacity, provided appropriate spacing as prescribed in the guidelines is maintained.
UIL has posted some sample pre-game and public address announcements online that schools may help remind spectators of the guidelines to be followed.
Schools not following these guidelines are subject to sanctions, including suspension of contests or discontinuation of public access to games by the local UIL District Executive Committee and/or UIL State Executive Committee.
Gov. Abbott's GA-29 states every person in Texas shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public, or when in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household.
However, the face-covering requirement does not apply to the following:
- Any person younger than 10 years of age;
- Any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering;
- Any person while the person is consuming food or drink, or is seated at a restaurant 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;
- Any person while the person is driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver;
- Any person obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the face covering for security surveillance, screening, or a need for specific access to the face, such as while visiting a bank or while obtaining a personal care service involving the face, but only to the extent necessary for the temporary removal; 7
- Any person while the person is in a swimming pool, lake, or similar body of water;
- Any person who is voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poli watcher, or actively administering an election, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged;
- Any person who is actively providing or obtaining access to religious worship, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged;
- Any person while the person is giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience; or
- Any person in a county (a) that meets the requisite criteria promulgated by the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) regarding minimal cases of COVID-19, and (b) whose county judge has affirmatively opted-out of this face-covering requirement by filing with TDEM the required face-covering attestation form—provided, however, that wearing a face covering is highly recommended, and every county is strongly encouraged to follow these face-covering standards.