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COVID-19 Response

May 18, 2020

Coaches and Administrators:

PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO ALL OF YOUR ORGANIZATIONS COACHES—it contains previous emails on this subject at the end

Once again we express our hopes that all are well. The Steering Committee continues to follow news and information from National, State and Local leaders, as well as updates from TAPPS and UIL regarding the Covid-19 crisis. We have had a few inquiries about “Spring/Summer In person practices” which is addressed briefly below. There are several other issues addressed in this communication as well.

RUMORS

These are unprecedented times without a doubt. The league is going through something that none of us planned for, or could even be expected to be prepared for. In addition, sports leagues like TAIAO, TAPPS, and UIL are receiving conflicting guidance from Federal, State and Local leaders. Different areas of the state have different guidelines, but the individual leagues cover the entire state. Exacerbating this is the fact the information from different agencies conflicts and changes unexpectedly and you have the ingredients for rumors to run rampant.

We as a league cannot take time to respond to every “did you hear that this TAPPS team said they can…” or, “I heard that UIL might….”, or “I saw on Facebook that…” inquiry that we receive. We are basing our decisions on information we receive directly from UIL, TAPPS and other agencies including attending the most recent TAPPS conference call on this issue.

IN PERSON PRACTICE

TAIAO is currently under a prohibition on in-person practices/meetings/workouts/etc through May 31. This is in line with both TAPPS and UIL as confirmed last Friday. We will make further announcements the final week of May. We understand the need to pre-plan and will endeavor to have information out as soon as possible. At this time all leagues are waiting for more information. (Tapps moved to “Summer Rules” May 18, but this did NOT allow in-person practices).

UDATE AND SURVEY

While the question “When can we start practice” seem paramount on most peoples minds, there are several other more global issues that need to be addressed. There are still many questions around the upcoming school year and I know all of you are trying your best to plan for an unfamiliar future. We are doing the same at the league level. Below are some of the issues that we are considering in no particular order:

  • FEES WILL HAVE TO INCREASE. We expect there to be an increase in our liability insurance costs thanks to potential Covid-19 liabilities. We are not able to ascertain even an estimate at this time of how much, but expect it to be significant. In addition our gate receipts at Championship Games and tournaments will likely decrease, and we may have some programs that cannot continue after the crisis past. We do not know the full amount of the increase but it could be as much as 50%.
  • UNCERTAINTY ABOUT GAMES/TOURNAMENTS. A month ago we were reasonably confident that fall football, volleyball and Cross Country would not be to severely impacted.  We do not have that same confidence today.  While NFL and NCAA are considering having games without fans, that is not an option for us.  While the information available about what will be “Opened” in Sept/Oct/Nov/Dec is at best pre-mature right now, most agree that large venue events will be among the last to be fully opened.  Even if we can have games and tournaments, there will likely be social distancing and other restrictions that may make holding games and tournaments prohibitively expensive or unwieldy.  I’m especially concerned about Volleyball as that is an indoor venue.  While we think some format will be possible, at this time it is still uncertain.
  • LOGISTICS WILL CHANGE. Individual organizations should be prepared to deal with changes in their practice and game routines this year. Things like no shared drinking bottles or water stations, and disinfecting equipment every day are the simple ones. Social distancing guidelines may (or may not) need to be enforced at games/tournaments. Officials may be more difficult to secure as there will likely be a decrease in the number of officials. Security may need to be provided at events to help ensure conflicts don’t arise over social distancing or other guidelines. These are just a few of things that need to be considered.
  • LIABILITY MUST BE CONSIDERED. Due to the conflicting messaging and polices between governmental agencies, Leagues like ours do not have any clear guidance on when to open or what steps to take. As a result the liability if something goes wrong (someone gets sick and sues) will likely fall on the entity that made the decision (another reason for TAIAO to wait for other larger leagues to move forward).

Please complete the following survey no later May 22 to help us in planning, so we can help you in yours!

2019 TAIAO Covid 19 Impact Survey

Please try to coordinate within your organization and only send one response per organization. If we receive multiple responses with different responses we will contact the AD.

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MAY 1, 2020,

Coaches and Administrators:

PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO ALL OF YOUR ORGANIZATIONS COACHES—it contains previous emails on this subject at the end

We sincerely hope that everyone is well, both physically and financially in these unprecedented times. Several updates:

IN PERSON PRACTICE?

  • As we continue to follow developments in the Covid-19 Pandemic, the steering committee at this time is extending the current prohibition on in-person practices/meetings/workouts/etc. through May 31, 2020. This is in alignment with other state leagues in recognition that (currently) the 2019/2020 school year is over.

REMOTE PRACTICE?

  • Organizations may choose to practice or meet via video conference, subject to the attached rules for remote practices.

SUMMER MEETING?

  • We are currently exploring holding our summer meeting (or more likely a series of smaller meetings) via Zoom. (As soon as I figure out how to hook up the old Polaroid to my computer I’ll send more information)

WHAT ABOUT FALL SPORTS REGULAR SEASON?

  • We don’t know yet. At this point we still are encouraging organizations to create their schedules based on a normal start date, but maintain flexibility as there is a significant chance that the start date will be moved back. This will also require flexibility in playoff/post season structure and scheduling.

IS THIS GOING TO AFFECT FEES?

  • The only activities that were affected were sports or activities that do not “pay in advance”, but rather pay at tournament/meet time, so there were no fees to be refunded for individual sports.
  • There were a few organizations that had paid their $135 Annual Membership fee (which is payable if you participate in any sport or activity), that were only planning to participate in one of the cancelled sports. Those fees have either been refunded or applied to the next season.
  • Luckily we made the decision to cancel our Track Meet, Baseball Tournament, Soccer Tournament, and Academic Meet before incurring any significant facility or officials fees. There were some expenses for awards and supplies that should for the most part be usable in the future.
  • I expect there to be a significant increase in Insurance costs for TAIAO (and all other organizations after “Pandemic” becomes a new risk factor that has to be priced in). This will likely require an increase in fees for 2020/2021 as the insurance expenses is the largest expense of the league that is not at least partially funded by gate fees.
  • Another factor that may require a fee increase is that I expect a slight drop in membership as it is likely some of our membership may not be able to re-open after this shutdown is over.
  • As soon as more details are available about insurance costs we will set and communicate the new fees.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • Can we hold an in person team practice during May if….?     NO
  • Can we hold an in person team meeting during May if…?     NO
  • When the Steering Committee made this decision did they think about…?       YES       (or “it wouldn’t change the decision”)
  • 😉

If there are significant developments that warrant a modification of any of the above we will continue to review.

APRIL 19, 2020

Coaches and Administrators:

The Steering Committee continues to follow developments around the Covid-19 crisis. Currently TAIAO has completely halted contests and practices through April 30. At this time we are officially moving that date to May 4. We will provide guidance about the remainder of May (and hopefully Summer) practices by the end of April, when we have more information from health officials, as well as an opportunity to evaluate UIL and TAPPS plans. IT SHOULD BE EXPECTED THAT IN PERSON CONTESTS AND PRACTICES WILL REMAIN SUSPENDED through at least the remainder of May as schools have been closed for this year. We are looking at an option for remote practices and will provide guidance at the same time.

We suggest that Fall sports continue to schedule their fall schedule assuming a normal start date, but should be prepared to be flexible depending on when the crisis passes.

The June 20 TAIAO summer meeting will be postponed. A new date later in the summer will be announced as soon as possible.

We encourage everyone to follow health officials and to stay safe.

TAIAO Steering Committee

 

Coaches and Administrators –

The Steering Committee has been closely following developments and information regarding the changes in our daily routines as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.  We continue to review information provided by the CDC, as well as state and local health officials.  We are also monitoring what our individual member schools and organizations are implementing as well as actions taken by other sports leagues around the state and nation.

After lengthy consideration, the TAIAO Steering Committee has determined the following in regard to TAIAO competitions for the remainder of the school year.

TOURNAMENTS AND MEETS

The following tournaments and meets are cancelled for the 2020 school year:

2020 Track and Field Meet

  • 2020 Baseball Tournament
  • 2020 Softball Tournament
  • 2020 Academic Meet
  • 2020 Soccer Tournament

GAMES/CONTESTS

  • TAIAO is suspending all interscholastic competition through April 30, 2020.  This applies to league and non-league games.
  • TAIAO will continue to monitor the situation and make a determination in Mid-April about any extension of this suspension.

 

PRACTICES

  • TAIAO is suspending all practices (including football and volleyball spring practice activities) through April 30, 2020.
  • TAIAO will continue to monitor the situation and make a determination in Mid-April about any extension of this suspension.

Though there is much information about the Covid-19 pandemic, there is also much that is not known.  In view this fact, we encourage all of our members to follow the guidance of your local and national health authorities recommendations.

Wayne Alldredge

On behalf of the Steering Committee

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