By CT McDonald
Traditional school classes will remain closed for the remainder of the current school year, according to an announcement by South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman April 22.
Distance learning will continue in order to complete the school year, and “flexibilities” will be provided for districts and schools to accomplish the task, as well as to enable graduation ceremonies, according to McMaster and Spearman.
Continued school closures means no school sports in the usual manner for the remainder of the year, but McMaster encouraged those involved in school sports to continue to exercise and be active in a safe way. He also said that the government would work closely with the South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) to safely allow preparations such as tryouts, practice and other preseason activities for the upcoming 2020 – 2021 fall season.
The governor said he hopes the virus pandemic will be resolved in time to accomplish this.
Superintendent Spearman pointed out that one of the primary considerations in making this decision was that social distancing would be extremely difficult to impossible. School buses transport, on average, 78 students at a time sitting three abreast, she said, and there are an average of 24 students in a typical 800 square feet classroom during the school day.
She said, in part, that the Department of Education would continue to provide flexibility, support and guidance to the districts and schools, while keeping uppermost in mind that — while education is, as always, very important — personal and family well being is still the most important consideration.
Meanwhile, the Executive Committee of the South Carolina Department of the American Legion voted to cancel the American Legion Baseball (ALB) 2020 season, but that may not be the end of summer baseball for ALB players.
An online petition has been started to encourage the committee to wait until May 15 or June 1 to make a decision about the entire summer season, and some ALB leagues around the state, and beyond, are considering/brainstorming ways to play the season — along as it is safe to do so later on — but as part of a different league.
Also, it was noted in a twitter post by ALB Florence Post 1 that the decision to cancel the SC ALB baseball season was made by the 26-member executive committee of the American Legion Department of South Carolina, not by the 8-member SC American Legion Baseball executive committee. Baseball is just one of the American Legion’s programs.
Other baseball and softball summer programs such as the Dixie and Little League All-Star tournaments would be subject to local parks and recreation facilities and their committees and governing bodies.
One thing is certain: Athletes will play again. It’s just a matter of time. Voluntary conditioning, workouts, personal practice and other physical activities are still important.