Horry County Schools on Sunday announced that all winter sports competitions have been placed on hold until Jan. 19.
This means wrestling and basketball teams — B-team, JV and varsity — will be unable to practice until Jan. 11. Spring sports conditioning has also been halted until Jan. 19.
The decision followed a request last month by the district's 21 athletic trainers that the district pause winter sports because of the spread of COVID-19.
The trainers cosigned and sent a letter to HCS Chief Officer for Student Services Velna Allen and Director of Health and Safety Services Tammy Trulove asking for all sports practices and games to be postponed effective immediately.
“Given the recent rise in [COVID-19] cases in Horry County and, more importantly the increasing number of athletic teams which have entered quarantine in the past two weeks, we, the athletic trainers of Horry County Schools, recommend the pause of all athletic activities — including practices, games and conditioning — until conditions are more favorable,” stated the Dec. 15 letter. “While we recognize the implications of this recommendation, we believe it is in the best interest of our athletes, staff and community to temporarily pause all activities related to athletics until we are able to better mitigate the risk.”
The letter did not put a specific return date in writing.
The district will resume classes Monday in a virtual format. School officials had been following a hybrid model that combined some days of in-person instruction with virtual classes, but district leaders opted to stick with distance learning for all students through Jan. 15. COVID-19 was also the reason for that decision.
"Following the Thanksgiving holiday, HCS experienced an increase in COVID-19 positive cases that were dispersed around the district, as well as an increase in the number of staff members placed on quarantine," HCS Superintendent Rick Maxey said in a Dec. 21 email to teachers and parents. "Though staff quarantines do not mean that individuals placed in quarantine have COVID-19, this safety measure for employees identified as close contacts of a positive case may impact ... a school's ability to conduct face-to-face classes."