Central Texas school districts react to new health order that will delay fall sports season

High School Sports

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — Pflugerville Independent School District Athletic Director Todd Raymond was caught off guard by the news.

On Tuesday night, the Austin-Travis County health authority issued an order, calling for 100% virtual learning in public and private schools until after Sept. 7 amid the coronavirus pandemic. The order also states that extracurricular activities and sports won’t be permitted until in-person learning resumes.

High school athletic departments across Travis County and the state are processing the mandate in different ways. The fall sports affected by the order are football, volleyball, team tennis and cross country.

On Wednesday, Round Rock ISD stopped all summer workouts and extracurricular activities “until further notice” to be in-step with the local health order. Round Rock ISD has schools in Williamson and Travis County. The RRISD spokesperson said the district will continue to follow guidance from local, state and UIL officials in regard to the upcoming semester.

In a release, Westlake High School says they are still trying to get clarification on the order because they are scheduled to open the football season at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

All four Pflguerville High Schools are in Travis County, as well, and are unsure of the next step. Raymond, the district’s athletic director, said there’s some confusion on which entity is calling the shots in regard to fall sports.

“Didn’t see that [order] coming. There are so many different entities that can contribute and give guidance and kind have some ruling on this…did not see the Austin-Travis County thing coming. We’ve got the governor, we’ve got TEA, UIL, and now this. We feel like we’re getting a lot of different information from a lot of different places to be honest with you,” Raymond said.

Houston ISD, the largest school district in Texas, says it will start virtual and will not have in-class learning until October 16. With that decision, sports will also not return until the students return to school.

The University Interscholastic League, the governing body for athletic, academic and artistic competitions, hasn’t provided uniform guidance on the state of fall events.

Before the July 4 weekend, the UIL recommended all strength and conditioning workouts take a break from July 3 to July 13, due to current COVID-19 conditions around the state

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