Poor air quality concerns forces SCHSL to leave football play to schools

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) — The South Carolina High School League leaving it up to schools in the areas most affected by poor air quality to determine if they will play Friday evening.

In a memo sent to schools, the group said that officials monitored the Air Quality Index (AQI) for the last 24 hours and been in contact with South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control in regards to future air quality forecasts.

As of 12 p.m. Thursday, DHEC expects the projected air quality throughout the state to be at the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups Level (Orange) or less statewide on Friday, according to the memo.

Because conditions are constantly changing and vary from the projected forecasts, SCHSL ask school administrators to continue to monitor their local forecasts to determine if playoff games should go on as scheduled.

Games scheduled to be played in AQI’s areas that are deemed unhealthy are recommended to be canceled. (Red).  For schools who are playing with AQI’s that are “unhealthy for sensitive groups” (Orange), extra precautions are recommended when playing.

If schools choose to postpone the contest, the expectation is that the teams will play the next available day provided the conditions allow (Sunday would be an option should both teams agree).


MEMO TO SCHSL MEMBER SCHOOLS


The SCHSL has been monitoring the Air Quality Index (AQI) for the last 24 hours and been in contact with DHEC in regards to future air quality forecasts. DHEC has informed us that as of 12:00 pm today, they expect the projected air quality throughout the state to be at the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups Level (Orange) or less tomorrow statewide. Since we know that the conditions are constantly changing and vary from the projected forecasts, we ask that the school administrators continue to monitor their local forecasts to determine if they should play their playoff game as scheduled Friday night.

The SCHSL wants keep the health and well-being of our student athletes at the forefront of everything we do.  With this in mind, we recommend that games not be played in AQI’s that are deemed unhealthy (Red).  For schools who are playing with AQI’s that are “unhealthy for sensitive groups” (Orange), we recommend that you take extra precautions when playing and to please closely monitor your athletes and coaches, particularly those with pre-existing respiratory conditions.

The SCHSL will support any decision to postpone, or change the location of a playoff game when student safety is a concern. If schools choose to postpone the contest, the expectation is that you will play the next available day provided the conditions allow (Sunday would be an option should you both agree).  If there are any changes to your scheduled games, please use the following steps:

  1. Home team contacts all game officials notifying them of change for availability
  2. Contact Wynne Dee at wd1@schsl.org to notify her of the following:
    • Names of officials who can and cannot work
    • Rescheduled Date
    • Rescheduled Time

When making any changes to your schedules please consider the safety of our student athletes when determining when you will play your succeeding playoff contest. With guidelines suggesting one contest per week under normal conditions, and increased risk of head injury when playing multiple contests per week, we recommend that any teams who play Monday, not play again until the following Saturday. This will allow four full days of rest and recovery for our student athletes prior to playing again. While there are logistical issues with playing the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we again want to reiterate that the safety of our student athletes comes first.

With so many variables and unknowns, now is a time for increased communication and understanding among our member schools. Please stay in communication not only with your current opponent, but also with any potential opponents when it comes to schedule adjustments. As always, please feel free to contact our office with any questions or if we can be of any assistance.

“It is our hope these guidelines will aid our schools in finalizing playoff schedules for the remainder of the week and help prepare for an exciting evening of football.  SCHSL member schools prove time and again how well versed they are in teamwork and successfully bypassing circumstances that are out of our control. Enjoy this opportunity and stay safe,” states Jerome Singleton, SCHSL Commissioner.

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