Summer camp

Ryan girls soccer coach Kendall Pryor (bottom right) poses for a photo with youth soccer players during a summer camp in 2018.

The UIL announced last week that all remaining 2019-2020 spring sports are canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. But local school districts such as Denton ISD haven’t closed the door on summer sports activities just yet.

Summertime is when coaches and players host fun camps for area youth, many as young as 6 years old, in a variety of sports ranging from football and basketball to soccer, baseball, volleyball and softball. Traditionally, a few of those clinics would start as early as the end of May. Officials say the plan is to keep it that way — though things could change.

“The situation is fluid, and we’re watching it,” Denton ISD athletic director Joey Florence said. “I told [our coaches] to get organized and get a plan together, but don’t advertise or do anything yet because we don’t have the go-ahead. We want to take safety first. This is a serious situation, and we’re going to do our part. If the experts tell us that it’s okay to go ahead, then we’ll be ready. We will have a plan.

“It would be irresponsible to advertise that we’re doing it right now. But to say we’re not going to do it is also irresponsible.”

Florence said he wants nothing more than to have little Wildcats, Broncos, Raiders and Bengals tripping over each other in excitement to get on the district’s various fields and courts this summer. But federal, state and local requirements and best practices are changing by the day to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

In-person classes in Denton ISD have not taken place since March 6, just before spring break. Athletic events were suspended on March 16. The plan was for students to return to classes and for sports to resume on May 4 — that is until April 17, when Gov. Greg Abbott closed schools for the remainder of the academic year.

The UIL followed suit a few hours later by canceling all 2019-2020 spring sports and state championships.

The cancellation affected baseball, softball, boys and girls soccer, track and field, golf, tennis and many other sports. But no ruling has been made about summer athletic activities — at least not yet.

“Right now, we can’t do anything. But who knows how things will look a month from now,” Florence said. “It would be great if we can get the go-ahead so that we can get back to normalcy. People need athletics; it’s something that brings us together. But it would be irresponsible to say, ‘Hey, our football camp will be June 24 come hell or high water.’ Any way you look at it, it will be a different summer — not just for our camps, but for speed and conditioning camps and other things we typically do. But we have good coaches who know how to adapt and teach. We will have a plan.”

STEVE GAMEL can be reached at 469-360-3611 and via Twitter at @NewspaperSteve.

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