In the never-ending puzzle that is defining life under COVID-19, area athletic administrators got another clue as to when life could get back to the new normal.

The University Interscholastic League announced Tuesday that they were working on a plan to allow limited summer strength and conditioning workouts for athletes beginning June 8.

It marked the first time that a date for return has been set.

The UIL first suspended athletic and academic events on March 13 and canceled spring sports on April 17.

So now that the UIL has said when, it will continue to work toward coming up with guidelines.

“As soon as the details of that plan are finalized, UIL will release them to schools to allow time to plan and prepare for bringing students back to campus for these purposes,” the UIL said in a release.

But a date, for now, is a big start in the return to action in some degree.

“It hurt not knowing when we’d be able to see the kids again,” Beckville Athletic Director Cody Ross said. “Now that we know when that’s going to happen, we can start getting ready to go. We still don’t know what we’ll be able to do, but we know it’s coming.”

Ross said he’s been looking at the National Federation of State High School Association’s website (NFHS) to see what sort of things it is recommending to the states.

“We’re probably going to have groups, maybe of 10, and they will stay together in everything,” Ross said. “Each group will have it’s assigned time and we’ll get in as much work in as we can, no matter how many groups we have or what size they are.

“This is going to be one of the most important offseason programs we’ve had before. With all the time we’ve had away from the kids, we have a lot of work to do. Of course we’re all in the same boat. Nobody else has had their kids either.

“I’ve been going stir crazy not being able to see the kids. I’m ready to blow the whistle and get out there working with them and getting them better.”

Ross hopes to add to his staff at the next Beckville School Board meeting on Tuesday with the hiring of a boys varsity basketball coach. He is currently searching for a new varsity baseball coach to replace Jason Causey, who took the top spot at Carthage. He has set no timetable for filling that spot

“We’re going to miss coach Causey,” Ross said. “Especially his veteran’s presence. We’ll look for someone to try and fill that mold.”