Manning football program suspends workouts amid coronavirus increase


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The Manning High School football program has shut down its summer workouts until further notice due to an increase in the number of positive cases of the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement was made on the football program's Twitter account on Friday.

"Me and the (Clarendon School District 2) superintendent (John Tindal) talked on last night," said Manning athletic director and football head coach Reggie Kennedy. "We decided to suspend everything for right now.

Clarendon County currently is a high area (according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control) for cases. Until it goes down, we decided to suspend everything until it goes back down."

Manning began Phase 1 of the restarting of high school sports on June 15. The South Carolina High School League gave its member schools the option of beginning at a time of their choosing after shutting down spring sports in mid Match. Manning's most recent workout was on Thursday.

Kennedy said Manning was scheduled to hold workouts next week, but the Fourth of July holiday made it much easier to cut practices. DHEC is supposed to reevaluate coronavirus statistics on Monday, July 6. He said a decision will be made on whether to resume after the reevaluation.

"We're wanting to see it go from a high to a low," Kennedy said.

None of the Manning players have tested positive during Manning's two weeks of workouts, which included weightlifting and conditioning.

"We've been lucky so far," Kennedy said. "We've told the kids we want to be better safe than sorry. We want to stay ahead of this."

Kennedy said Manning has had around 60 players out of a total of 90 over its workouts.

"We had a Few parents a little leery about sending their kids," he said. "We're going to give them some time. I felt good about the participation."

The SCHSL executive committee voted to toughen its return-to-play guidelines on Thursday. amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The committee voted 13-1 that guideline recommendations be given the force of "actual requirements," with penalties in place for violations of those guidelines.

SCHSL commissioner Jerome Singleton admitted in a Zoom meeting that the drastic increase in the past couple of weeks is jeopardizing the fall sports season.

"Something has to change, or our discussions about playing sports becomes moot," Singleton said.

Singleton also said that some of the SCHSL schools have had players test positive for the virus.

Sumter School District has yet to announce when it will allow Sumter, Crestwood and Lakewood high schools begin workouts for athletic teams.