UIL allows distance learners to participate in extracurriculars
By TJ MAXWELL
As the fall season approaches, school administrators, teachers, coaches, parents and students are trying to adjust to a new normal that will likely force some distance learning into the fray as schools begin the process of reopening in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic.
All but seven Texas states are reporting cases of COVID-19, with Harris and Dallas Counties combining for nearly 77,000 of the 257,658 listed on the Texas Department of State Health Services website at press time on Monday Coryell County is listed at 64 of the 247 counties with 401 cases and Lampasas County growing to 39 cases as of Monday.
The University Interscholastic League made that task a little easier as they announced on Friday morning that remote learners will be granted eligibility to participate in fine arts and athletics.
“Students participating in remote learning offered by their school district, whether synchronous or asynchronous (as defined by the TEA), may participate in UIL activities if they meet all other UIL eligibility requirements,” the UIL wrote in a statement on their website on Friday.
The student must be enrolled in remote learning through the school they wish to represent.
The UIL adds that additional policies should also be implemented to assure students are passing in order to be eligible.
“Schools should develop grading policies for remote learning options that outline the criteria for determining if a student is passing all courses at the end of grading and evaluation periods,” the statement added. “Days when school is not in session should be treated as school holidays for purposes of determining academic eligibility for both remote and in-person learning. All students are academically eligible when school is not in session for a full calendar week or more. More information related to no pass-no play can be found in the TEA-UIL Side by Side Manual.”
The eligibility requirements for the beginning of the school year have also been updated.
“For the 2020-2021 school year, UIL eligibility requirements for the first six weeks of school have been modified to allow a student to be eligible for the first six weeks if they accumulated at least two and a half credits since the start of the 2019-2020 school year,” the statement added. “Schools may impose additional requirements.”
A recent survey of done by Greg Tepper of TexasFootball.com finds that a large number of coaches throughout the state have little faith that the season will play out as scheduled.
The study found that “62.5 percent (of coaches) were pessimistic about playing a full season as scheduled,” Tepper said in the article.
Others believe that spikes in cases will force closings and forfeited games.
The pandemic has even forced the UIL to reconsider the live broadcasting of Friday Night football games and the study finds that most coaches are in favor of that with 88.9 percent.
The UIL and schools have just a few weeks before volleyball begins and just a few more weeks after that before the seasons are slated to begin.
More information on specific rules and policies can be found www.uiltexas.org under the policy tab.