EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Local school districts in El Paso County are suspending high school athletics at the request of County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the community.
Socorro ISD announcing they are, “pausing high school athletics/fine arts programs per Judge Samaniego’s recommendation due to local health crisis.” Potential return dates have not been announced.
Jefferson head football coach and athletic coordinator, Tony Martinez, announced on Twitter that El Paso ISD has suspended athletics. EPISD confirmed the news on Monday afternoon, but did not give a timeframe on a return to play date, saying the suspension is, “until further notice.”
“We understand that sports and extracurricular activities are an important part of the student experience, but it has become abundantly clear that the health and safety of our community are at stake at this moment,” said Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera in a statement. “We will continue to work with health officials and the University Interscholastic League to determine what steps to take, if any, for the continuation and conclusion of the athletic and performing seasons.”
Canutillo ISD has also announced they have suspended athletics until further notice at the request of El Paso County.
As it stands six school district have announced they will continue with their respective high school seasons. Those school districts include Anthony ISD, Clint ISD, Fabens ISD, San Elizario ISD, and Tornillo ISD.
Ysleta ISD has yet to announce their plan moving forward. Superintendent Dr. Xavier De La Torre and the board of trustees met on Monday night and concluded they would take their time in making a decision with regards to athletics.
“I’m not about being first, I’m about being right and, as we always have, being very thoughtful and deliberate with the decisions that we make,” said De La Torre. “Maybe the right decision is to suspend sports for two weeks. I just don’t like the idea that there would be some kind of adverse consequence to the student-athletes who are innocent in all of this.”
De La Torre said he would take the next day or two to speak with his coaches, as well as the UIL, to gather as much information as possible before making a decision. Ysleta ISD and Fabens ISD are the only two schools districts in the county with rapid testing capabilities.
The widespread suspensions come following the county’s press conference on Sunday where leadership urged the independent school districts to suspend competition for at least two weeks.
“We have a great relationship with the superintendents at each one of the independent school districts. We are high recommending [suspending athletics] and encouraging that they look at that for at least two weeks to make sure. If things get worse, we don’t want the possibility of not allowing sports because our numbers get to such a point,” said Judge Samaniego in a press conference on Sunday.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned to ktsm.com for the very latest.