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The University Interscholastic League, the governing body of high school sports and academic competitions for Texas public schools, announced some changes to the 2020-2021 calendar due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The main changes, which were announced on Tuesday, are to the athletic calendar for fall sports for Class 6A and 5A high schools.

Across the region, Class 6A and 5A high schools include: Frenship, Midland, Midland Lee, Odessa, Odessa Permian, San Angelo Central, Amarillo, Tascosa, Caprock, Palo Duro, Canyon Randall, Lubbock, Monterey, Coronado (Lubbock ISD), Lubbock-Cooper, Plainview, Abilene, Abilene Cooper, Abilene Wylie, Wichita Falls, and Wichita Falls Rider.

UIL

For Class 6A and 5A, the start of the volleyball and football seasons will be pushed back by one month, and the team tennis and cross country seasons will start three weeks later than originally scheduled.

With this change, the Class 6A and 5A football state championship games will now played at some point in January 2021.

Meanwhile, the Class 1A-4A fall athletic schedules will not be changed by the UIL. The football regular season for Class 1A-4A will still start on August 27, 2020.

The UIL also announced a series of COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Guidelines. These guidelines include the following information concerning face coverings:

  1. For the purposes of this document, face coverings include non-medical grade disposable face masks, cloth face coverings (over the nose and mouth), or full-face shields to protect eyes, nose, and mouth.  Face shields may be superior to cloth face coverings in many circumstances, given improved ability to see mouth movements and improved air circulation.

  2. All employees, parents, visitors and students ten years of age or older must wear face coverings or face shields upon entry to an area where UIL activities are being conducted and when not actively practicing or playing in the contest, unless an exception listed below applies.

  3. The face coverings requirements do not apply to a school in a county that meets the requirements of paragraph 11 of Executive Order GA-29, unless the local school system chooses to implement these requirements locally. Even in these circumstances, the wearing of face coverings or face shields is strongly encouraged.

Exceptions to the wearing of face coverings or face shields include:

  • Any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering;

  • While a person is consuming food or drink;

  • While the person is in a swimming pool, lake, or similar body of water.

  • When a congregating group of persons maintains at least 6 feet of social distancing; or

  • Any other reason or circumstance indicated under Executive Order GA-29.

Additional changes could be made next month by the UIL to the fall athletic, and academic competition schedules, due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas.