Public school districts across Texas will be allowed to relaunch strength-and-conditioning programs and band practices starting June 8, according to a May 22 press release from the University Interscholastic League, the sanctioning body for academic, athletic and arts competitions in Texas middle and high schools.
RISD officials said they are still unsure of when band practice will begin.
“It’s under discussion and guidelines are still being evaluated, with a possibility of beginning in July,” Tim Clark, RISD executive director of communications, said in an email. “Our fine arts staff is targeting mid-late June for a decision.”
The choice to hold off comes from a place of caution, RISD Fine Arts Director Jeff Bradford said.
“We don't have a need right now that is pressing,” Bradford said. “We're not going to be any further behind ... We want to make sure that we're being mindful, we are being slow to react, and we're watching.”
However, the district may resume strength-and-conditioning training for student-athletes in June, Clark said. Sports team practices are currently not under consideration for any schools, he added.
“Our athletics department is evaluating the state guidelines for how a modified program could work and determining how that can fit within RISD’s framework and resources,” Clark said in an email.
The district is still in the early stages of planning for the possible relaunch, Athletics Director Leslie Slovak said.
“The priority for us is the safety of our kids and staff,” she said. “Are we going to start on June 8? It's a possibility. But we have to do a lot of preparation, and there's a lot of moving pieces for that.”
Both the athletic department and fine art department have been ensuring that they maintain contact with students via Zoom and are providing ways for them to maintain their skills, Bradford and Slovak said.
“I'm so proud of our coaches because they did a great job of maintaining that connection and giving our kids hope and checking in with them,” Slovak said.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story was amended to clarify language around strength and conditioning programs.