EDINBURG — One of the biggest Rio Grande Valley school districts has tentatively picked its return date to resume on-campus practices and extracurricular activities.
Multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation told The Monitor on Thursday that Edinburg CISD officials representing the district’s four high schools — Economedes, Edinburg High, North and Vela — have agreed to resume on-campus practices for fall sports at all four campuses Sept. 28.
That’s the earliest date Hidalgo County schools can consider reopening for in-person class instruction and on-campus, school-sponsored activities under an existing public health order, which was released by the county in July.
“It’s hard to go through something that we can’t even see that can also take someone’s life. Unfortunately, you know, as much as we all want to play football, I think at the end of the day we’ve got to be thinking safety,” Edinburg Vela senior quarterback AJ Sotelo said on Wednesday.
“All the other people around us come first and with the Valley’s situation with really high COVID numbers, it does put us in an unfortunate situation. But I think as a whole Valley, RGV football (community), I really think that we can get through this season and make it a really good one.”
Economedes, Edinburg High, North and Vela were also the only Valley schools that weren’t able to participate in any summer practices or offseason strength and conditioning programs after Edinburg CISD further postponed them out of an abundance of caution following news that Brownsville CISD was temporarily shutting down its summer workout programs following a positive COVID-19 test on one of its high school campuses in June.
“Me and the guys had this conversation the other day. Normally, for the past four years around this time, we’d be getting ready to play and we would have already been through fall camp and practices and have the whole playbook in by this time,” Sotelo said.
“Now, we’re just kind of sitting here having to organize our own things, trying to get better on our own and stuff. It’s crazy how the world just changed in just a matter of a couple of months.”
The Brownsville Herald and Valley Morning Star also reported Wednesday that all of Cameron County’s Class 5A and 6A schools — Brownsville Hanna, Brownsville Lopez, Brownsville Pace, Brownsville Porter, Brownsville Rivera, Brownsville Veterans, Harlingen High, Harlingen South, Los Fresnos and San Benito — joined Edinburg CISD, McAllen ISD and other Hidalgo County school districts in saying that they are preparing to play fall sports seasons as currently scheduled.
“It’s a pretty indescribable feeling. If you asked anybody, any adult that’s played high school football, I’m pretty sure they would say they don’t get any other feeling outside of that then when they were on that field then,” Sotelo said.
“That’s the feeling that goes through my body, and I’m sure it goes through everybody else’s body when you’re on that field because it’s kind of like an escape from the real world. You get to go in there and just play a game.”