Schools adjusting to the new normal of the COVID-19 pandemic
By TJ MAXWELL
As high schools throughout Texas are wrapping up week 2 of their two-a-days, others are just trying to get their schedules repopulated after having after the COVID-19 pandemic along with state and University Interscholastic League (UIL) mandates, delay the season for more than a month.
The Copperas Cove Lady Dawgs volleyball squad are one such team. The Lady Dawgs went from having a full slate before the UIL pushback in late July. They had just eight games listed on the MaxPreps website before sending a revised schedule to media members on Monday afternoon.
The Lady Dawgs will open the season with a pair of scrimmages on Sept. 11 and 12 against opponents to be determined.
The team will then open the regular season at home against Liberty Hill on Tuesday, Sept. 15 with a 5:30 first serve set for the junior varsity with the varsity to follow.
With no tournaments allowed this season, the Lady Dawgs have just three more games slated before District 12-6A opens at home against Belton, also with a 5:30 start time. Cove will complete their September calendar at China Spring at 4:30 pm on Friday, Sept. 18 beofre hosting a double-header against Leander Glenn and Georgetown East View on Saturday, Sept. 26 at Bulldawg Gymnasium with start times of 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
The Lady Dawgs will then host District 12-6A returnees, the Bryan Lady Vikings at 5:30 p.m. on Friday Oct. 2 and Round Rock Cedar Ridge at noon on Saturday, Oct. 3.
The Lady Dawgs will get into the full swing of their district slate with eight district matches in October - that is if the schools already attempting the transition back to normalcy aren’t abruptly interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and additional closures are required.
They close out the season with four more district clashes in early November with the playoffs slated to begin the week of Nov. 19. The full Copperas Cove schedule is listed at top right of this page.
The Lady Dawgs will be led by returners senior Larissa Melendez, senior Emily Vanderpoel, junior Emma Wasiak, junior Kyra Gaston, senior Sydney Montana and junior Jiya Edwards.
As of now high schools in several states have pushed their fall athletics start date back and some have even pushed them back to the spring like schools in Washington State where the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) Executive Board announced modifications to its 2020-21 sports calendar in late July, pushing high-risk team sports like football to March of 2021.
In collegiate football, The Mid-American Conference is the first FBS Conference to announce the cancellation of college football for the fall with hopes of playing the season in the spring of 2021.
“There are simply too many unknowns to put our student-athletes into situations that are not clearly understood,” MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said in a press conference. “It’s not the easy decision, but it was the right decision.”
The Big 10 and Pac 12 confernces followed suit earlier this week and the Southland Conference, that houses the University of the Incarnate Word, announced the cancellation yesterday.
“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren in a press release on the Big 10 website. “As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.
“We know how significant the student-athlete experience can be in shaping the future of the talented young women and men who compete in the Big Ten Conference. Although that knowledge made this a painstaking decision, it did not make it difficult. While I know our decision today will be disappointing in many ways for our thousands of student-athletes and their families, I am heartened and inspired by their resilience, their insightful and discerning thoughts, and their participation through our conversations to this point. Everyone associated with the Big Ten Conference and its member institutions is committed to getting everyone back to competition as soon as it is safe to do so.”
The fall sports included are men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball.
Class 2A school Ben Bolt, slated to begin their football season on Aug. 28, was the first Texas high school to cancel football season. The move also cancels volleyball season. The school located in the Coastal Bend has been inundated by COVID-19 cases.
The success of the Class 1A-4A schools at implementing the safety protocols and keeping the COVID-19 cases from spiking will go a long way in determining if schools in Texas will be able to hit the ground running or if they will just be running in place with more shutdowns and quarantines.
Only time will tell if the seasons will be completed.