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Jefferson ISD Superintendent Rob Barnwell

JEFFERSON — Jefferson ISD Superintendent Rob Barnwell on Friday offered another update on the district’s ongoing plans and guidelines for the start of the 2020-21 school year, most specifically relating to the district’s sporting events.

Barnwell said students who attend traditional, in person classes will be allowed to participate in UIL and extracurricular activities though he said depending on the ongoing changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the subsequent protocols sent to districts from the Texas Education Agency and Gov. Greg Abbott, some athletic seasons or contests may be suspended.

“More updated restrictions/mandates regarding workouts and/or contests are forthcoming, so expect future changes,” Barnwell said in an update on Friday. “Suspended athletic seasons are even possible. We will also use this guidance from UIL to help us with local decisions regarding our non-UIL activities. For example, if UIL decides to suspend sports or band activities, Jefferson ISD will consider suspending other extracurricular activities such as dance teams, pep squads, FFA, or other student groups that meet, travel, and/or compete as teams which are not governed by UIL.”

Barnwell said for those planning to attend the contests or sporting events, the state has capped capacity of those events to just 50 percent of what the venues would normally be able to accommodate.

“All districts must restrict the number of attendees at each athletic contest/venue to 50 percent of normal capacity,” he said. “Therefore, we are investigating options to only have ‘pre-sale’ tickets available, with no tickets to be sold on-site.”

In addition, Barnwell said no passes, such as district-issued season passes, senior citizen passes, etc., will be accepted at the entry of events in an effort to keep attendance under the 50 percent capacity rule, though senior citizens can contact the district in advance for a free ticket.

“Everyone must have a ticket to enter contests,” he said. “If someone is normally eligible to use a pass for entry, such as a senior citizen or ‘golden age’ pass, they should contact the school (in advance) in order to be given a free ticket for each contest he/she plans to attend,” he said.

In an effort to allow as many people as possible to still view the Bulldog football games this fall, despite the reduction in venue capacity, Barnwell said the district is looking to broadcast the games live.

“The district is also investigating the possibility of live streaming the home varsity football games,” he said. “All varsity football games are expected to be broadcast on the radio as normal.”

Barnwell said any fan or parent with questions may contact the school office at (903) 665-2461.