The Donna Independent School District announced varsity fall sports and performing arts activities can begin practice starting Oct. 5 according to a Monday news release.

While a few Rio Grande Valley school districts started practicing Monday and others have canceled fall sports all together amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Donna ISD’s announcement of an Oct. 5 start date provides some clarity for the district’s two high schools — Donna High and Donna North.

“After much thought and careful consideration, Donna ISD has decided to allow students to play high school varsity sports and participate in performing arts activities in accordance with the UIL’s modified athletic calendar school year. Varsity sports and performing arts programs will be permitted to begin practice Oct. 5. Attendance at these athletic functions will be limited and face coverings will be mandated to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” the release from Donna ISD said.

Fall sports such as cross-country, football, team tennis and volleyball can now begin practicing for an abbreviated season beginning Oct. 5.

Donna ISD Superintendent Dr. Hafedh Azaiez said the school district came to its decision after much consideration and will do its best to ensure the safety of its student-athletes.

“We thought long and hard about this decision because we know how important sports are in the Donna community. Our students want to be able to play the sports they love and we believe they can do it in a safe manner. We want our parents and community to know that our district and campus leaders will be working closely with the UIL, as well as the CDC, state and local health agencies to ensure that our students follow all safety protocols,” Azaiez said.

The release also states Donna ISD will continue to monitor the pandemic going forward with the fall season and if it was to see an increase in the number of positive cases in the community/county, Donna ISD will evaluate its plan and make the appropriate adjustments.

bramos@themonitor.com