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No masks required for high school football games, capacity limits up to local schools

While masks are not required, the Waco ISD is strongly recommending them at football games....
While masks are not required, the Waco ISD is strongly recommending them at football games. (File)(Waco High)
Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 11:28 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - It may not feel like fall yet, but high school football is back in Central Texas, and fans will encounter fewer restrictions than they did in August 2020, although COVID-19 cases are rising here and around much of the state.

The University Interscholastic League, which sets out rules and guidelines for high school competitions, announced new recommendations on Aug. 23.

According to the guidance, the UIL is not limiting capacity at events, although school districts can do so if they wish.

The Waco ISD announced Thursday crowds will be reduced to 50 percent capacity at indoor events, but no limits are set for outdoor events.

The UIL guidelines said schools should follow TEA public health guidance for face coverings and masks.

The Texas Education Agency, in revised guidance issued on Aug. 19, said the mask provisions of Gov. Greg Abbott’s July 29 executive order “are not being enforced as the result of ongoing litigation. Further guidance will be made available after the court issues are resolved.”

While the UIL declined an interview it did send a statement.

“Current COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Guidelines can be found on the UIL website. Beyond this guidance, specific protocol decisions are made at the local school district level in conjunction with their public health authorities. UIL continues to work closely with state officials and remains adaptable should statewide updates become necessary.”

The guidelines for this season do differ a bit from last year, when masks were required and attendance was capped at 50 percent.

Those restrictions were lifted in March when Abbott lifted the mask mandate.

While masks are not required, the Waco ISD is strongly recommending them at football games.

Starting Monday, the Waco ISD is requiring masks inside all district buildings.

Student athletes and coaches will be wearing them inside district buildings and on buses.

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