Sumter School District will consider proposals from SCHSL return survey


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The South Carolina High School League sent out a survey to its member schools on Monday to gain their input on what they think the 2020-21 athletic calendar should look like.

The survey, which asks about opinions and concerns revolving around the return from coronavirus as well as offering different scenarios, is to be returned to the SCHSL by the end of the day on Thursday. According to a story in The State, SCHSL commissioner Jerome Singleton and his staff want to use the information gathered to put together possible proposals to bring before the executive committee next week. The committee could vote on proposals or give the SCHSL the power to choose the best one for the upcoming season.

Sumter School District has yet to set a return date for student-athletes to return from the coronavirus pandemic. Superintendent Dr. Penelope Martin-Knox is one who received the survey.

Martin-Knox said that even should the SCHSL come out with a specific time to start athletics in whatever fashion or form, that doesn't mean Sumter School District would be immediately on board.

"I think the first thing we would have to have is a dialogue, discussions with those who will be implementing it - the ADs (athletic directors), the coaches, the principals," Martin-Knox said. "First and foremost to us is the safety of all of those involved, our students and coaches as well."

The SCHSL shut down the 2019-20 spring sports season in the middle of the March due to the coronavirus pandemic. It announced at the end of May the state's public schools could begin summer workouts for the 2020-21 school year. It left it up to the respective districts or schools as to when the workouts could start. The SCHSL didn't offer a suggested start date, instead saying schools may begin activities when it permits academic group activities on campus.

Many schools began the workouts in early June, and some have since had to shut them down due to the increase in cases of coronavirus. Sumter School District, which includes Sumter, Crestwood and Lakewood high schools, has yet to allow any workouts. At a Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, the district released a statement said a restart date was not in the foreseeable future.

"I think it's not right to do that," Martin-Knox said when asked why the district didn't set a possible starting date and then push it up if it didn't feel comfortable with it. "Establishing a date only creates a false hope. We want to set a date allowing for the return of athletes with safety in mind."