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After almost two months in Phase 1 of workouts for its sports restart due to the coronavirus pandemic, the South Carolina High School League will allow member schools to move on to Phase 1.5 beginning on Aug. 3.
SCHSL commissioner Jerome Singleton sent an email to member schools on Thursday announcing the decision.
The move to 1.5 will allow the workout pods to include more people and also will allow some sports equipment to be used as well.
Group workouts will increase from 10 -- nine athletes and one coach -- to 16. The sharing of the ball along with other equipment would also be allowed with the same rules set for sanitizing, mask requirements and social-distancing rules.
"The goal is to allow the athletes, coaches and staff to begin and/or continue in-person training and group workouts while maintaining a safe environment," Singleton said in the email. "It is imperative that if schools choose to begin implementing Phase 1.5, they do so under the guidelines set forth."
Phase 1, which has allowed conditioning in weightlifting in the 10-person pods at different spots on campus, was put into place by the SCHSL in early June. The organization left it up to the respective schools or districts to determine when they could begin the workouts.
The move to 1.5 will allow spotters in the weightlifting sessions as long as the spotter is wearing a mask and at the end of the bar.
While the numbers increase for the pods in the fall sports, it will remain the same for winter and spring sports workouts.
Also, when it comes to weight training, spotters would be allowed under Phase 1.5, provided the spotter is masked and at the end of the bar.
Sumter School District high schools Sumter, Lakewood and Crestwood have yet to be allowed to have their student-athletes begin any workouts.
East Clarendon began Phase 1 workouts on June 8. With the exception of the week of Fourth of July, EC has continued to have practices in Phase 1. Manning High began workouts on June 15, but shut them down after a couple of weeks due to the rise in positive coronavirus cases. MHS athletic director and football head coach Reggie Kennedy said on Friday Manning is planning to return to workouts on Aug. 3.
Scott's Branch held workouts for three weeks before shutting them down. The school has yet to restart workouts.
A virtual meeting will be held next week to discuss the move to 1.5
This comes a week after the SCHSL made the decision to move the start of practice for fall sports from July 31 until Aug. 17. The start of the football season would be pushed back to Sept. 11 with a regular season of seven games.
The playoffs would be cut by a round, meaning 16 teams would make the playoffs in each of the five classifications. The possibility exists that starting times could be pushed back as well.
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