With the state prepared to shut down this holiday weekend in response to the raging coronavirus pandemic, the University Interscholastic League has recommended that all public schools halt strength and conditioning programs from July 3 until at least July 13.


The request coincides with a planned week off for most schools.


"In anticipation of the July 4 holiday and the potential for increased social interactions that could spread COVID-19, UIL is recommending schools consider closing summer workouts, rehearsals, practices and instruction between July 3 and July 12, resuming Monday, July 13," the UIL tweeted out from its official Twitter account Thursday. "For schools in areas experiencing community spread of COVID-19, this temporary suspension will reduce risk of exposure and provide an opportunity to review current plans and re-evaluate local context in order to make informed decisions moving forward."


The UIL, which governs athletics and other extracurricular activities for the state’s public schools, has not mandated how individual districts conduct summer strength and conditioning programs since the state approved a resumption of offseason school activities June 8. However, the UIL did tweet that it "will continue to work with state officials and monitor CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and other federal guidance to determine any potential modifications to UIL summer guidelines."


Summer practices for the 2020-21 school year are scheduled to begin later this month for high school volleyball teams, and high school football teams can begin summer camp Aug. 3. Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath recently told state lawmakers that classes will resume at the start of the 2020-21 school year and that local districts will have flexibility in adapting to the pandemic.


Many area schools have suspended summer strength and conditioning workouts because of positive coronavirus tests among student-athletes or school staff members. Others, such as schools in the Leander, Eanes and Pflugerville districts, had previously planned the second week of July as an off time for students and staffers.


Earlier this week, the Austin school district joined the Round Rock district in suspending its strength and conditioning programs until at least July 13. A handful of other large districts across the state such as Dallas and Houston had already implemented a districtwide suspension of strength and conditioning programs.


In addition, multiple other schools have already at least partially suspended their summer strength and conditioning programs, including Lake Travis, La Grange, Bastrop, San Marcos, St. Michael’s, Taylor, Thorndale, Hays, Johnson and Manor.


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More than 10,000 people in Travis County have tested positive for the virus since the start of the pandemic.