0919 SCHSL

The South Carolina High School League sent a memo to member schools Thursday afternoon informing them that summer workouts for fall sports will be allowed.

The actual dates those workouts can start, however, will vary.

The SCHSL has left the decision up to individual districts to determine their safe date for when summer workouts will go ahead. Thursday’s memo stated, “SCHSL member schools may begin limited summer activities when their district/school permits academic group activities on campus. Please communicate with your local administration regarding when your school will resume activities.”

SCHSL commissioner Jerome Singleton issued a statement to the schools that explained the organization’s work with state government and health departments. While the districts will decide when to open workouts, Singleton said those workouts cannot be mandatory.

Part of Singleton’s statement read: “Please understand that some families may not feel it is safe or appropriate to begin in-person workouts at this time. Also, many families may have plans for the previously scheduled summer dead weeks. In both instances, student-athletes should be allowed to return to team activities without repercussions when they feel it is appropriate to do so. In these unprecedented times, please allow for participation without mandatory attendance requirements during the summer period.”

SCHSL’s decision is different from the plans of other states. North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama each set exact dates for when summer workouts can start.

The South Carolina Independent Schools Association (SCISA), of which Greenwood Christian and Cambridge Academy are members, decided its schools can begin their summer work as soon as Monday.

The SCHSL and the state department of health have worked together to plan for high school sports returning to practice and competition in the summer and fall. Thursday’s memo explained to schools the guidelines for social distancing and detailed a three-phase plan to return to competition.

Phase 1 will include daily testing and screening athletes, coaches and staff for symptoms; adequate cleaning schedules created by the athletic departments; groups of fewer than 10 athletes per workout; face coverings worn by athletes when not participating in the activity and locker rooms not being used during Phase 1.

Team competition in practice will be prohibited during Phase 1. Balls or sports equipment will not be allowed for the first 10 days of workouts or 14 calendar days to “eliminate common contact points.”

A document sent with the memo also addresses the possible need for teams to quarantine for two weeks during the season.

The document stated Phase 1 will be in effect by the SCHSL “until further notice” and did not lay out its guidelines for subsequent phases.

Cross-country, track, swim, golf and tennis are identified in an FAQ document as “low-risk” sports. Volleyball, soccer, baseball, softball and basketball are identified as “moderate-risk” sports. Football, wrestling, cheer and lacrosse are called “high-risk.” The risk of these sports had been determined by the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Contact sports writer Skylar Rolstad at 864-223-1813 or follow him on Twitter @SkyRolSports.