While Covid-19 has challenged the district to implement safety measures that make it possible for fall sports to begin on time, coaches and players have felt the impact of changes that the UIL has put in place.
“Although playing through a pandemic isn’t ideal, I’m glad my team is making the most of it,” said senior varsity volleyball player Avery Allsup.
Athletes will have to complete a daily health screener and follow strict guidelines that include wearing a mask when not directly participating, and all fans and staff will be required to wear a mask.
“I am broken-hearted for the students that have missed out on traditional experiences,” Principal Chris Choat said. “It has made me realize the responsibility I have to implement solid, safe systems that allow our students to make as many memories as possible during this time.”
Tickets will be pre-sold, meaning fans will not be able to buy tickets at the gate. Seating capacity at all sporting events will be limited to 50 percent, and social distancing will be required in the stands.
One of the new rules that will make the biggest impact on fans will be that only people who live in the same household will be permitted to sit next to one another in the stands.
“I’ll miss having a student section and having your friends cheer you on to motivate you to do better,” Allsup said.
The UIL has stated that if schools and fans do not follow guidelines, sanctions may be placed on the school, team or district. They could also implement tougher restrictions that take away the ability for visitors to attend games.
“I am so proud of our student athletes, they are working hard to prepare for their seasons at the same time adjusting to all the new rules and guidelines,” said RISD Athletic Director Leslie Slovak, who believes this has been the most challenging time of her career. “I think our athletes just want to compete, and so they are willing to do whatever we ask of them.”