dutch fork social distancing practice

Dutch Fork players during the first day of workouts Monday. GoFlashWin photo.

The past two weeks have seen public schools hold summer workouts following guidelines recommended by the S.C. High School League schools.

Growing COVID-19 numbers and schools citing cases has league officials very concerned about starting fall sports. In an effort to further enforce rules to help keep participants safe, the league has now made "return to play" guidelines a requirement.

The executive committee unanimously voted for the change during a virtual meeting Thursday.

Among the extensive rules put in place during Phase 1 and now Phase 1.5:

-Maintaining minimum physical distancing of six feet between participants at all times.

-Daily health screening of athletes, coaches, and staff by a health care professional or designated full time district/school employee.

-Temperature screening will be done on each athlete, coach and staff daily by a health care professional or designated full time district/school employee. If temperature is equal to or greater than 100.4 degrees, that individual will not be allowed to stay on site.

-Face coverings that completely cover the nose and mouth are required for everyone.

-No locker room usage and limiting bathroom access to every other stall.

-Weight rooms, restrooms, meeting rooms and other multi-use facilities that include high-touch surfaces should be sanitized frequently during each event. Shared equipment should be cleaned and disinfected in between each user.

Those schools which do not follow the guidelines will be in violation of league rules for an illegal practices. The penalties will range as follows:

-1 day in violation /first occurrence per sport -$500 fine and team loses one day of practice and limited to one pre-season scrimmage.

- 2 days in violation /second occurrence per sport -$500 fine and team loses two days of practice, limited to one scrimmage, cannot host any events and cannot be the home team during the playoffs

-3 days in violation/third occurrences per sport-$500 fine and team loses three days of practice, limited to one scrimmage, cannot host any events, and cannot participate in the post-season.

“The safety and health status of our student-athletes and coaching professionals are our primary concern,” Commissioner Jerome Singleton said. “We are facing a complex future, but I whole heartedly believe in our membership to do what is in the best interest of the individuals and communities of South Carolina.”

Singleton also indicated he and his staff are exploring different options for fall sports. This could range from shortening a sport’s regular season to reduced playoff fields.

Member schools are expected to receive a survey to provide their input to the SCHSL towards adjusting schedules.

Teams will have an extra week of practice as the executive committee voted to eliminate the dead week for workouts originally set for July 27-30. It was previously set aside for the S.C. Coaches Clinic, which was cancelled due to the pandemic.

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