PSJA ISD and Rio Grande City CISD on Friday announced their plans to begin strength and conditioning programs for varsity athletes starting Monday.

PSJA ISD plans to open stadium facilities at all four of its high schools — PSJA High, PSJA Memorial, PSJA North and PSJA Southwest — to varsity student-athletes for voluntary conditioning during the week of Sept. 21-25 for the official start of fall sports Sept. 28.

Meanwhile, Rio Grande City CISD student-athletes at its two high schools — Grulla and Rio Grande City — will begin strength and conditioning practices also starting Monday, RGC CISD Superintendent Vilma Garza announced.

Rio Grande City quarterback Mario Garza (10) handles the ball against PSJA Southwest in a District 16-5A game at PSJA Stadium on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019, in Pharr. (Joel Martinez |

“This week, we issued out a survey to all our varsity to parents to determine if they wanted their children to participate in fall sports. Both Grulla High School and Rio High School surveys results indicated by 90% or higher that parents wanted their children to participate in fall sports,” Garza said. “For now, our students will begin strength and conditioning practices starting Sept. 21. Parents will receive information on health and safety protocols we must follow.”

PSJA ISD also announced the results of a parent survey it conducted to aid the process and decision making. The survey, which went out to guardians of varsity athletes and fine arts programs such as band, featured more than 70% of respondents mention they would allow their child to participate in extracurricular activities if permitted.

“Our school district and health services department continue to monitor the current situation and will ensure all health and safety protocols are followed. All students and staff will be asked to wear a face mask at all times while inside the facilities and maintain proper social distance,” PSJA ISD athletic director Orlando Garcia said. “We are blessed to have free COVID-19 testing at several of our PSJA schools where our athletes and families can take the test required before joining us next week.”

Part of PSJA ISD’s plan to reopen its facilities for voluntary conditioning Monday is requiring participating athletes to wear a facemask at all times except when actively exercising. There will also be no contact between students allowed as athletes are required to maintain social distancing measures of 6-10 feet at all times.

During the week of voluntary conditioning, activities will include body weight exercises and running only to avoid contact. Students are also asked to provide their own water container which they can refill at touchless stations made available by PSJA ISD.

PSJA ISD superintendent Dr. Jorge L. Arredondo said their student-athletes will set the example as the school district goes into part two of its reopening plan.

“As student leaders, our athletes have the opportunity to be one of the first to go through our reopening efforts. They will help set an example for the rest of the student body as we slowly work to allow other extracurricular students to start their practices, such as those participating in marching band, and other fine arts activities,” Arredondo said.