EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Ysleta Independent School District suspended all summer workouts after a soccer coach at Riverside High School tested positive for COVID-19, the district announced on Saturday.
The coach was never in contact with students and was last on campus on June 22. While on campus, the coach participated in training. Like all YISD campuses, the coach was adequately screened, wore a mask, and maintained social distancing.
The Riverside coach was the second positive virus case among YISD coaches since the beginning of summer training last week. A Hanks High School football coach also tested positive last week, resulting in the school suspending the beginning of their summer training.
“It puts us on a different timeline, for sure,” YISD Athletic Director Mike Williams told KTSM. “Our coaches have been working on this for awhile and have contingency plans in place.”
YISD also says the decision by Governor Abbott to decrease occupancy limits in restaurants and close bars played a role in the decision to suspend workouts indefinitely. “We believe it is in the best interest of students and staff if we suspend the summer strength and conditioning program until at least July 13th,” Williams said in a press release.
The district says if conditions improve before July 13, they will reconsider allowing the program to begin again.
“It will be based on the data, how the guidelines are changing and if there are new guidelines,” said Williams. “We will monitor the circumstances at each individual school and respond accordingly to the circumstances at each school.”
While the positive test was at Riverside, it affects the other six high schools in YISD. The coaches at those schools said they understand the bigger picture.
“We’re football coaches, we’re not doctors, and we’re not the ones that need to be making these kinds of decisions,” said Parkland head football coach Eric Frontz. “We follow what they tell us to do. They’re making informed decisions for whatever reasons they have and we’re going to support them.”
Across El Paso, as of Saturday night, El Paso ISD was still planning on holding workouts next week; Socorro ISD has a pre-planned summer break completely unrelated to COVID-19 and will not be holding workouts the week of June 29-July 3. As of Saturday, SISD plans to return to workouts July 6.
Individual schools, as well as entire districts across the state of Texas, have suspended workouts due to COVID-19 in the last few weeks since the UIL approved workouts to begin. This week, Dallas ISD and Houston ISD suspended all workouts for all of their schools; in El Paso, Cathedral High School also suspended workouts on June 12 until further notice, after a football player tested positive for COVID-19.
YISD Board of Trustees recently approved a new school calendar that begins August 3, meaning student-athletes would have just three weeks to train before the start of the school year.