MISSION — After months of uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic which featured protests, surveys, petitions and delayed votes, Mission CISD announced Tuesday afternoon that it will field fall sports competition according to a news release.

According to the news release, schools in the Mission school district have been given the green light to resume on-campus fall sports practices for cross country, football, volleyball and team tennis on Sept. 28, which is the first day Hidalgo County schools may reopen for in-person instruction and on-campus, school-sponsored extracurricular activities per a county-level public health order, after being given the go-ahead by Mission CISD Superintendent Dr. Carol G. Perez.

“After cautiously and meticulously assessing all data gathered, the decision has been made to take a measured return to in-person athletics by starting with our varsity teams,” Perez said. “For parents who choose to allow their children to participate, we would like to assure them that we will be taking appropriate safeguards based upon the standards of the CDC, UIL, the state, and our local officials.”

About two dozen parents and student-athletes from fall sports programs at both Mission High and Mission Veterans protested at the district’s headquarters in Mission to voice their frustrations and show their support for fall sports remaining an option for student-athletes and parents alike.

Nearly 200 families representing both Mission high schools and the district’s several middle schools signed a formal petition asking Mission CISD administrators to refrain from making any further decisions regarding the status of fall sports until more information became available regarding fall sports preferences and the public health situation, which has been gradually but steadily improving across Hidalgo County in the past few weeks.

The Mission school district responded by emailing out a fall sports survey to more than 1,500 families but postponed a vote on making any decisions during a Sept. 9 board meeting after it was discovered that a sizable majority of the survey recipients didn’t respond calling the data into question.

Dr. Perez also indicated that Mission CISD’s return-to-play plan will include “daily screenings, frequent and regular disinfecting, physical distancing, masks, etc.” according to the news release.

While schedules remain unclear for now, it appears as though the football programs at both Mission High and Mission Veterans will be looking to participate in a lone scrimmage each Oct. 16 with each team’s regular-season opener being tentatively scheduled for Oct. 23.

The Patriots football program announced that it will open up the regular season with a non-district clash against Edinburg Vela on Wednesday evening, while the Eagles football squad will likely know its Week 1 opponent in the coming days.

Competitions could begin as soon as Oct. 6 with volleyball scrimmages for both Mission High and Mission Veterans, as the Eagles’ and Partiots’ volleyball squads will scrimmage one another Oct. 9.

Mission CISD also added in its news release that when competition for all fall sports resumes, “Audiences will be limited to two guests per athlete. No other student groups like bands, cheerleaders, etc. will attend competitions. Audience members at Mission CISD venues will be screened, sanitation stations will be provided, distancing standards will be enforced, and masks will be required.”

The news also comes on the heels of Brownsville ISD announcing over the weekend that it too would resume full-fledged, on-campus fall sports practices Sept. 28 with a target date of Oct. 23 for regular season openers for each of the district’s six high school football programs.

Email: amcculloch@themonitor.com

Twitter: @ByAndyMcCulloch