Grapeland AD Terry Ward

Grapeland head football coach Terry Ward addresses his football team after a game during the playoffs last year.

Grapeland Athletic Director Terry Ward announced via Twitter Tuesday that they are postponing their workouts for the remainder of the season.

“Due to cases on the rise across the state, he said, boys and girls, will postpone our workouts for the remainder of the week. We will try to reopen next Monday, June 29th. Stay safe, wash your hands, wear a mask.”

The decision comes enlight of several Texas high school and collegiate programs having to suspend their summer programs due to athletes testing positive for COVID-19.

It also comes after the UIL began relaxing many of the COVID-19 guidelines schools had to follow in order to have a summer conditioning program.

Van, Carlisle, and Marshall Independent School Districts are a few of the districts that suspended workouts last week due to an athlete testing positive for COVID-19. Spring Hill ISD was another East Texas school to shut down summer workouts due to the virus.

Those schools join a list of other Texas schools that shutdown summer workouts the week prior due to a positive test, or concerns about the virus. That list includes Burleson, Orangefield, Brownsville, Bay City, and Alpine ISDs, as well as West-Orange Stark, Arlington Martin, and Beaumont Legacy Christian.

The uptick in Texas college and high school athletic programs COVID-19 cases has been an unhappy trend that has raised more questions across the state about fall sports programs.

“It's an intersting precedent being set,” Westwood Athletic Director Richard Bishop said. Are we saying one positive case or one exposure shuts the whole thing down? Because if that's the precedent than are we shutting schools down? That's the worrysome part. What's the precedent we're going to set if we get a positive case?”

According to UIL regulations, if a positive case is identified among a participant in these summer activities, either staff or student, the group to which that staff or student was assigned and in contact with must be removed from the sessions while all members of the group self-isolate.

If the confirmed individual regularly had close contact outside a single group, then all of the students and staff with whom the confirmed individual had close contact shall be removed from workouts for two weeks. 

“It's a day-to-day thing,” Palestine Athletic Director Lance Angel said. “So far we've been fortunate. The spike in cases are concerning, but I keep believing we're going to get through this.”

Most schools are still pushing ahead as the Aug. 3 date of mandatory practices looms closer. The UIL is still optimistic a fall sports season will happen, but hasn't made an affirmative statement on how that season will look.

“I really don't know about the situation,” Cayuga Athletic Director Cody Mohan said about if we're headed towards a fall season. “I hope all this pays off. I wish I had answers.”

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