EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – Fall sports practices began around the greater-El Paso area on Tuesday, with the volleyball and football seasons slated to begin in a few weeks.
Everything looks a lot different because of COVID-19, and all of the area school districts are taking plenty of precautions.
As far as in-practice precautions, health screenings and masks, among other policies, are mandated. The big questions for the school districts: What happens if a player or coach tests positive, and will there be a threshold for a number of cases that could cancel games?
Right now, according to El Paso ISD athletic director Maria Kennedy, there isn’t a threshold for EPISD schools, but if and when positive cases arise, they will be handled as carefully as possible.
“We’ll take our lead from whatever the CDC recommends and we may even reach out to the UIL to see if there is a specific threshold we’re supposed to follow,” said Kennedy. “It’s case-by-case, campus-by-campus and we’re just going to keep our fingers crossed that our kids and coaches are going to do everything they can to keep from spreading the disease at all.”
Kennedy said that in the event of a positive case, coaches are required to contact their campus coordinators, and her directly. The district’s nurses would also be involved in any decision regarding whether the team suspends all activities, or continues without the infected player or coach.
It is important to remember that when positive cases arose during summer workouts, El Paso schools and districts immediately suspended practices. That has happened across Texas so far with a few teams being forced to cancel games and suspend workouts because of COVID-19 outbreaks.
Kennedy said EPISD is still discussing whether fans will be allowed at games this fall, but said an announcement would come in the next few weeks.