Ysleta ISD playing it safe before athletics return to campus

High School Sports

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – High school football programs across the state of Texas have begun their summer strength and conditioning programs. Campuses are open and workouts are in session in El Paso, except for the Ysleta Independent School District (YISD).

“Our district said they want to hit the reset button, pause a little bit, and take a step back,” said Riverside head football coach Gary Recoder. “We want to see how things play out and go back after everyone else.”

Every school district in the greater El Paso area, with the exception of YISD, started workouts on June 15. So far, the only known positive COVID-19 case for a high school football player was at Cathedral last week. Socorro High School suspended their workouts before they even started after a coach on the staff began exhibiting symptoms.

Across the state, several high schools have had to shutdown workouts after positive cases, including Odessa High School. This has been the precedent in Texas — if a student-athlete tests positive for the coronavirus, workouts are suspended.

YISD coaches want to be with their kids on the football field right now, but they feel like the right decision is being made by playing it safe and staying home.

“I’m really glad our district is taking their time on it,” said Hanks head football coach Jason Blair. “I don’t think two or three weeks of me working out my kids is going to make that much of a difference come fall. We have to make sure those guys are healthy and get to the season.”

“Our goal is to be playing football in August,” said Parkland head football coach Eric Frontz. “If our district feels like we need to take it a little bit slower than everyone else, then we’re good with that.”

The decision to wait doesn’t mean coaches aren’t ready for their student-athletes to come back to campus. They are just waiting for the green light from their district.

“This has nothing to do with a lack of planning, lack of equipment, lack of direction with where we want to go with this — it has nothing to do with any of that,” said Eastwood head football coach Julio Lopez. “The minute we feel confident, safe, and we feel it’s in the best interest of the kids to be out there, our staffs to be out there, and we’re ready to go — then we will be ready.”

As of now, there is no return date for athletics at YISD. Sources tell KTSM 9 Sports the district has targeted June 29 from the beginning, but even that date could be pushed back if COVID-19 cases in El Paso continue to spike.

“If it’s done wrong and we don’t get a football season, what did we prove,” asked Blair.

The high school football season in Texas is scheduled to kickoff on August 28. If the season start on-time, practices would begin August 3.

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