Bowie Volleyball | Photo courtesy EPISD

El Paso ISD student athletes, performers return to practice under strict health guidelines

Student athletes and performers throughout EPISD returned to in-person practice on Tuesday following strict guidelines designed to maintain the health and safety of student and staff.

University Interscholastic League rules allowed practices for fall sports, marching bands, cheerleading and dance/drill teams to resume. Students in EPISD will have to practice using social-distancing and wearing face coverings. Students also will be monitored for potential health conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are excited to see our students again but are very aware of the health conditions that exist in the world right now, so we are taking precautions to be able to practice safely and effectively,” said Maria Kennedy, EPISD’s Athletic Director. “Our coaches and staff worked diligently throughout the summer to make sure our practices comply with the guidelines needed for health and safety.”

Kennedy said students and staff are screened before practice begins. Anyone who doesn’t feel well or who shows symptoms of illness will be sent home. The District also will continue to monitor COVID conditions in the region and any positive cases reported among students and staff.

Just like their gridiron counterparts, marching bands and drill teams are cleared for live practices also with the safety protocols in place.

The live practices are in anticipation of Friday Night Lights. Fall COVID precautions include limiting band performances to home games only and canceling all marching competitions.

On-campus rehearsals for high school choir, theater and orchestra begin Oct. 19 – after the fall intersession – and include a variety of safety protocols for both students and teachers.

“Once we go face-to-face, we are encouraging them to do rehearsals outside,” Barraza said. “If outside is not available, they will have to get the biggest room possible to allow for social distancing. They will still wear mask even for choir and they will practice entry and exit routines that include sanitizing their hands and workspace before they leave.”

EPISD theaters have been labeled to show where students can be seated to ensure six feet of social distancing.

“EPISD Fine Arts continues to go strong, even during this pandemic,” Barraza said. “We have opened new opportunities for professional development for our teachers to deliver the best virtual instruction to our students and showcase the awesome student talent through social media and various platforms.”

Barraza said a decision on whether to have a live or virtual competition for dance in February will be live or virtual will be made in late October depending on the COVID situation in the city.

Author: Story by Reneé de Santos & Gustavo Reveles  | EPISD