The UIL season will see changes this year as students will compete virtually.
“I believe that the UIL academic season will be virtual for the rest of the year,” UIL Coordinator Dr. Carrie Turner-Grey said. “I have high hopes that we will be able to have in person tournaments, but based on the rise of COVID cases, I believe that the district will probably keep us virtual.”
The season began in the fall with math and science competitions, where several students have won awards, though competitions have to an all-online model.
“In our district, we must follow the rules that are given to us by our district, which is following TEA and CDC guidelines,” Turner Grey said. “Right now, none of the schools are allowing people to visit campus, so we are unable to have a meet with students from other schools.”
So far, NEISD has yet to implement a district-wide format for UIL competitions. Rather, each high school campus has chosen its own ways of monitoring student-activity, with Zoom and Google forms as popular options.
“All of the competitions we attend are based on the individual subject coaches,” Turner-Grey said. “So far, we have not had any delays, but we do not know the winners within a few hours, it is usually a few days.”
Though the format for each campus is different, each subject seen in a normal UIL academic season is still in session.
“Our teams have been doing very well this season, and though competitions have been virtual, I am very proud of the resilience our dedicated members have shown,” UIL President Juliana Alfonso-Desouza said. “ It is definitely more difficult to organize practices and increase engagement via zoom.”
While the season continues, many students and teachers are disappointed by the lack of an in-person season, which they believe promotes a sense of competition and camaraderie not captured as well on a computer screen.
“Like most other extracurricular activities, COVID has definitely thrown a wrench in our plans, but I am confident that we will have another successful season,” Alfonso-Desouza said. “I miss the community UIL created especially while attending meets and the bonds I created with students and sponsors through practices. Community discussions is something that I think made our Current Events team so successful and I will definitely miss being able to have practices in person after school.”