A Fort Bend ISD board meeting was one the most important dominoes to fall concerning the University Interscholastic League making dramatic changes for the start of the 2020-21 school year. Now, FBISD is starting the lay the groundwork for returning to UIL activities.
FBISD was one of the first major metropolitan school districts to put the brakes on sports and band for the new school year amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
In light of the new UIL rules for a split start between larger (6A and 5A) and smaller (4A and below) classifications, FBISD supt. Dr. Charles E. Dupre has elaborated on the district’s position about starting extracurriculars once again.
“The UIL updated their schedule for the fall,” Dupre said. “What the UIL published truly complements our work-effort in Fort Bend ISD.
“They are allowing district’s our size to begin practice for fine arts, marching band, football, volleyball and cross country can begin practice on Sept. 7.
“What that allows for us in Fort Bend is to start school and again get a few weeks under our belt as we go into the Labor Day holiday to assess if we are ready to come back face-to-face.
“If we are, and if we believe our conditions are safe in our community based on medical advisory and county official, then we will begin UIL (activities) as scheduled.
“I want to make that commitment very clear. We are committed to starting UIL actives according to the scheduled published by the UIL, if at all possible.”
The UIL split the start of athletic and band seasons for the top two classifications by a month earlier this week, allowing football and volleyball to have complete seasons for all six classifications.
Cross country and team tennis programs in 5A and 6A will still have a delayed start but compete at the scheduled date for all classifications at the state championship.
Team tennis will remain on Nov. 11-12 while cross country is on Dec. 5.
The upper classification championships for volleyball will be moved to Dec. 11-12 while football will be in January without a specified date.
Class 6A and 5A’s first day of practice for volleyball and football will now be Sept. 7 with team tennis and cross country’s first day for matches and meets on the same day.
The first volleyball games will be on Sept. 14 with football starting on Sept. 24. District certification for volleyball will fall on Nov. 14 and football will have until Dec. 5.
Dupre and FBISD have been consistent in their messaging about the district process for starting the 2020 school year: student and staff safety.
“I want our teachers, staff and community to understand that today, the well-being of our teachers and campus staff is my highest priority and our highest priority as an organization,” Dupre said.
The moves came as COVID-19 cases in Fort Bend County continued to surge over the summer with hot spots in Sugar Land, Missouri City and Houston.
FBISD has 11 high schools that compete at the 6A and 5A level. All but two high schools play football with Lamar Consolidated High School. George Ranch is an eight-team district with seven FBISD schools.
Two FBISD schools will be seeking to return to the state level again with Marshall in football and Ridge Point in volleyball.