Texas Border Business
PHARR – PSJA ISD will be opening stadium facilities at all four comprehensive high schools to Varsity student-athletes to begin voluntary conditioning this upcoming week Sept. 21-25 for the start of fall sports on Sept. 28. All health and safety measures will be followed, and as an enhanced safety precaution, students wanting to take advantage of using the facility to condition will be required to submit a recent negative COVID-19 test. Coaches and athletic trainers who are supervising will also be tested.
This opportunity is available for students participating in the following Varsity fall sports: Football, Volleyball, Cross-Country and Team Tennis.
This voluntary conditioning is not a practice nor is it a sports workout, it is an opportunity for Varsity athletes to get outside and begin to regain aerobic conditioning before the start of this fall season. These co-ed conditioning will consist of groups of 10. This opportunity is strictly voluntary, and it will not affect students’ standing in the sport if they or their parents decide they will not participate.
“Our coaches and athletic trainers will be onsite to supervise the student athletes and ensure health and safety measures are being followed, including screening, wearing a mask and social distancing,” said PSJA ISD Superintendent Dr. Jorge L. Arredondo. “As student leaders, our athletes have the opportunity to be one of the first to go through our reopening efforts. They will help set an example for the rest of the student body as we slowly work to allow other extracurricular students to start their practices, such as those participating in marching band, and other fine arts activities.”
Students who do choose to take advantage of this opportunity must have all UIL and PSJA paperwork updated for the current year, such as student physicals. The district held a board committee presentation and conducted a parent survey to assist our process and decision-making. Parents of Varsity athletes and fine arts programs such as marching band were recently surveyed to learn of their response if fall sports were to be available. Over 70 percent mentioned they would allow their child to participate if permitted.
“Our school district and health services department continue to monitor the current situation and will ensure all health and safety protocols are followed,” said PSJA ISD Athletic Director Orlando Garcia. “All students and staff will be asked to wear a face mask at all times while inside the facilities and maintain proper social distance. We are blessed to have free COVID-19 testing at several of our PSJA schools where are athletes and families can take the test required before joining us next week.”
Athletes participating will be asked to wear a facemask at all times except when actively exercising, but must social distance between a minimum of 6-10 feet at all times. No contact between students will be allowed. All exercises will consist of body weight (sit-ups, push-up, etc.) and running on the track only. Participating students will be asked to provide their own water container and there will be touchless refill stations available throughout the day.
In case a probable positive COVID-19 case is reported during this reopening phase of facilities, the district will follow the current Health and Safety Measures utilized, such as immediate contact tracing by health experts, notice to all within close contact to individual, complete or partial shutdown of facilities for thorough disinfecting procedures. Detailed information can be found in the district’s Reopening Plan Part 2: Health and Safety and the PSJA ISD Athletic Department COVID-19 Mitigation Procedures documents at www.psjaisd.us/athletics.
“The UIL calendar is set to start on Sept. 28, PSJA ISD will follow all UIL and Texas Education Agency guidelines, in addition to local and state health officials,” said Garcia. “Our intent is to over-prepare and enhance our health and safety as an added precautionary measure.”