HOUSTON - With each passing day, high school athletic directors and their departments are forced to pivot and adjusting their plans to adhere to new county or state orders as they are released.
Tuesday was another one of those "whirlwind" days.
On Friday, Harris County Judge Lina Hildago announced an order not allowing public or non-religious private schools in Harris County to start in-person learning prior to September 8. That included doing strength and conditioning camps.
Fast forward to Tuesday when Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released his order, which in part read, "While playing an important role in protecting the health of school children and employees, local health authorities may not issue sweeping orders closing schools for the sole purpose of preventing future COVID-19 infections."
#BREAKING: Texas Attorney General @KenPaxtonTX says “Local health authorities may not issue sweeping orders closing schools for the sole purpose of preventing future COVID-19 infections.“— William Joy (@WilliamJoy) July 28, 2020
Full statement: (@wfaa) pic.twitter.com/QVxan5ww23
So, once again. Athletic Directors, coaches and student-athletes are forced to pivot.
"I got word late this afternoon that we had the green light to start tomorrow if we'd like," Humble ISD Athletic Director Troy Kite said about restarting Strength & Conditioning Camps. "We're excited, I don't know if it'll last 24 hours, 48 hours or indefinite. I have no idea. But tomorrow we will have Strength and Conditioning in Humble ISD. We're going to work our kids out and get them a little bit bigger and stronger and I hope that continues."
As of 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Katy ISD and Humble ISD had announced their intentions to restart Strength & Conditioning Camps starting Wednesday, July 29.
It was just on Sunday that team accounts, like Atascocita football's had tweeted they would not be doing any workouts until in-person learning began again due to the Harris County order. The very next tweet on their timeline, quoting Humble ISD Athletics Tuesday announcement - "WE'RE BACK!!!!! See you tomorrow EAGLES!"
"We're up and down and all over the place with this and it is because it is a fluid situation," Kite said. "We have no idea what things will be like tomorrow and there may be another decision that comes out tomorrow that this will be a one-day resumption. Our thought process was, when I talked to our campus coordinators this afternoon, if we could get one day with our kids we would work with whatever kids could come to strength and conditioning."
VYPE reached out to Katy ISD for a statement but the district has not provided one at this time.
For athletes like Auburn-commit Landen King of Atascocita, there is excitement to being able to return to work as he said he would indeed attend Wednesday's camp at Atascocita High School, slated to start at 7:15 a.m.
"It's really just about adapting the situation," King said about adjusting to daily news. "We've been on and off all summer, so it's just about being flexible."
Humble's Jeremiah Knott added: "We are happy to be back. We love the game. We handle it by continuing to stay as a unit and be the best team we can be no other way we would have it but to be in this as a brotherhood. We do it for each other and the game we all love. We're Wildcats. We love to win and we are all about PRIDE!"
Katy Taylor offensive linemen Hayden Conner and Bryce Foster are sticking to the old adage of "taking it one day at a time" as they try and prepare for their senior seasons.
"We are only able to control why we can control," Foster said following Tuesday's news. "We just do what we are told so we will be able to have a season."
For Humble ISD, the district had been hosting Strength & Conditioning Camps since June 8, when the University Interscholastic League made it where those could resume. Kite admitted they have had a couple of cases since restarting but they are actively following all of the COVID-19 guidelines set out by the UIL to help further prevent more cases.
"There's not one coach, or athletic director that is saying 'Don't worry about those precautions, we're not going to wipe stuff down'," Kite said. "I think we're the safest avenue. My opinion is, you shut us down but you didn't shut down AAU basketball, you didn't shutdown Lifetime Sports and they're not taking the precautions we're taking."
In the world of athletics, Kite admitted coaches and athletic directors alike are planners. They want to be proactive and be ahead of the game, but the last few months has shown him they have to patient because the COVID-19 pandemic is ever-changing.
For Kingwood volleyball coach Christie Mewis, who has seen the start of her team's season pushed back to mid-September said she is excited to get the opportunity to work with her girls again on Wednesday.
"We have really started to gel the last few meetings and we were disappointed when we got shutdown again," she said. "We are planning for our start date of September 7 and look forward to building more growth physically and emotionally as a family. Our motto is 'We before Me' and the parents and admin have gone above and beyond to stand true to this motto. We are Kingwood proud!"
On Tuesday, the State of Texas reported 8,341 new COVID-19 cases according to the Texas Health and Human Services tracking website. There are currently 42, 542 active cases in Harris County as well.
Humble ISD has been very active in getting input from the parents of their students through surveys that have been conducted throughout the summer. From those, Kite said a lot of the community wants the ability to have their kids work out if the parents choose to.
"We want to work with kids, we need them, they need us," Kite said. "If a parent feels comfortable sending their kids to Strength & Conditioning Camp in Humble ISD we're going to welcome them with open arms.If they don't, it's OK. We understand that too. I think that's all Humble ISD has been trying to do with our calendar or bringing kids back. We wanted our parents, our community, to have the choice on how their kids were taught."