By Callie Caplan
The Dallas Morning News
The UIL on Wednesday updated its summer workout guidelines for strength and conditioning to include mask wearing for every participant over the age of 10 years old, the organization said on its website.
The requirement for masks — which previously had not been mandatory — was one of several changes the UIL made for strength and conditioning and skill-specific workouts amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Schools must require students, staff and visitors to wear face coverings upon arrival and exit and in practice areas when not actively exercising, the UIL said.
Students may remove their masks — non-medical grade disposable face masks, cloth face coverings over the nose and mouth or full face shields — when actively exercising if they maintain at least six feet of distance between other students and staff who are not wearing face coverings.
Exceptions for wearing a face mask include any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering, while someone is consuming food or drink, and when a group can maintain six feet of distance among members.
The UIL will also allow students access to locker rooms and showers and permission for players to engage in drills that involve offense versus defense, the latter starting July 13.
The guidance "is in effect immediately until the first day of instruction or the start of in-season activities, whichever is earlier," the UIL wrote.
The UIL on July 1 recommended its schools consider closing summer workouts from July 3 through July 12 in response to "the July 4 holiday weekend and the potential for increased social interactions that could spread COVID-19."
A day later, Gov. Greg Abbott on July 2 ordered Texans to wear face masks in public and gave local officials power to restrict outdoor gatherings with more than 10 people.
Since UIL summer workouts began June 8, at least 215 schools suspended their operations at one point due to positive COVID-19 tests among participants or because of the rapid spread around the state.
Most are set to resume workouts July 13 with an eye toward the start of fall practices in early August.