Summer football conditioning at Aynor High School has been postponed for at least one day, if not longer, due to a possible COVID-19 exposure.
Horry County Schools elected to halt the program’s drills while it investigates a staff member who was present at last week’s practices, said district athletics liaison Roger Dixon.
“We can’t get ahold of anybody [to determine] if it was an exposure or not. So we’re just going to hold them as a precaution,” Dixon said. “There is a question as to what is a full [exposure] or a partial, if it is an exposure or not. There is a time element. If you go back to the six-foot distancing, we’re 99.9% sure that the protocol was proper. But we want to make sure the person who makes the call for us is notified and we can get clearance.”
Until then, Aynor and the district are erring on the side of caution. The Blue Jackets were initially scheduled to work out in their Phase 1 pod systems on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday this week. Aynor utilized the same schedule last week, and the possible exposure came in the last session.
Horry County Schools’ nine programs were allowed to open football conditioning last Monday. Dixon said the Aynor incident is the first possible exposure. The only other issues were temperature-related, and while a handful of student-athletes were sent home, no positive tests have come out of these sessions.
Under the Phase 1 guidelines, up to nine players and one coach can be on one field at a time. Players and coaches are subjected to a temperature check and health screening prior to every practice. No equipment is allowed.
Last week, S.C. High School League Commissioner Jerome Singleton said the governing body is exploring the expansion of Phase 1 to include footballs. The SCHSL is currently allowing individual school districts to make their own call, based on their own comfort level.
Several — including Georgetown County Schools and other districts along the coast and stretching into the Midlands and Upstate — have either delayed opening or postponed previously commenced drills while various COVID-19 figures continue to spike around South Carolina. Florence 1 School District has also delayed the start of its academic calendar.
As of Sunday evening, Dixon said Horry County Schools is still allowing the other eight football programs to continue their conditioning, at least for now. He said a decision will likely be made Monday or Tuesday as for how it looks moving forward. The other varsity sports are currently set to open their summer conditioning July 6.