No masks required during basketball: Local high schools make plans for winter sports

Education

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Three high school football games across three different school districts have recently been delayed or canceled after a player tested positive for COVID-19.

Friday night’s football game between Anderson High School and Manor is canceled after an Anderson player received a positive test. Students will need to quarantine for two weeks and can return to campus and extracurricular activities when school resumes on Nov. 30.

Hendrickson High School played Anderson last Friday and because of that, they postponed Thursday’s game at Leander High School. That’s been rescheduled for Nov. 30.

Weiss High School’s game against Anderson scheduled for Wednesday has also been canceled and won’t be rescheduled.

Despite these ongoing risks of transmission during athletic events, coaches for winter sports are preparing for their upcoming seasons.

For Tessa Grant, a mom of five in the Lake Travis Independent School District, that’s good news. She has several children who participate on school teams.

“The need for peer interaction, the need for social interaction,” Grant said. “We have to do what we can to keep things somewhat normal for them.”

On Monday, Austin Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Elizalde said basketball players won’t have to put on masks when they are playing. Doctors don’t recommend wearing them during strenuous activity. Players on the bench will, however.

Dianna Monroe, a mother to two in the Leander Independent School District, says that type of policy puts everyone at risk, whether your kids play sports or not. She pointed out her children have to wear masks during physical education and says this feels like a double standard in favor of athletes.

“Every time my kids go to school, they take that chance. And so I don’t like the idea of different groups of students having different rules. It just doesn’t make sense, and it’s completely unfair,” Monroe said.

School districts are making plans to keep things safe.

Westlake High School’s varsity basketball team will split into two groups and rotate workouts to minimize contact. Leander coaches are having virtual team meetings whenever they can. And Hays CISD players will use assigned seats on the buses to and from games.

“I think the kids are more cognizant of it and are more aware of it themselves. So they’re a little bit better at protecting themselves, too,” Grant said.

Reach KXAN’s Education Reporter Alex Caprariello by email at alexc@kxan.com or by phone at 512-703-5365, or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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