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Manning High School will begin conditioning and workouts for its football players on June 15 after the South Carolina High School League said they could return following the shutdown from the coronavirus pandemic.
Reggie Kennedy, the athletic director and football head coach, said the decision was made to wait until June 15 to give him and his staff time to make sure all the ducks were in a row before students returned.
"We want to take next week to make sure to try and cover all of our bases, following the guidelines and everything," said Kennedy, who will be preparing for his second season as Manning's head coach. "We don't want to rush things and leave something out."
The SCHSL announced last week that workouts and conditioning could begin, but it was up to the schools or the respective school districts as to when it could take place.
There are several strict guidelines to Phase 1. Schools can have up to 10 days of conditioning and workouts over a 14-day period with intense social distancing and cleansing guidelines. If things go good, then the plan is to move on to allowing sports equipment to be involved.
Nine players and a coach are to gather as a group called a "pod" and work in one "facility," while maintaining the six fee of social distancing. Only one group can work at a facility, even if it is a football field in order to keep up the social distancing.
Once a group is finished working at one facility, all of the equipment is to be cleaned and disinfected.
Kennedy plans to have five facilities available. He said he has close to 100 players in the program, so he will have half of the players on Monday and Wednesday and the other half on Tuesday and Thursday to limit the social contact as much as possible.
However, there will be no pressure for the football players to be at the workouts if they don't feel comfortable with the return from coronavirus.
"We're not going to penalize the kids," Kennedy said. "We're going to allow them to come out whenever they feel comfortable coming out."
East Clarendon will be starting its conditioning and workouts on Monday. Football head coach and AD Scott Cook plans to have two separate sessions each day, the first beginning at 5 p.m., the second at 6:15. Student-athletes will have their temperatures taken before beginning any workout or conditioning regimen.
Sumter School District has yet to announce a date when the football programs at Sumter, Crestwood and Lakewood high schools will be able to start.
Lee Central High School has yet to set a date for beginning its conditioning and workouts either.
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