In terms of sports teams and the resumption of limited workouts, Laurens County public schools are back to Square 1, which is to say, Phase 0.

District 55, in reaction to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the state, announced on Friday that all workouts are on hold until at least July 20, which is what Greenville County schools announced on Thursday night. District 56 announced it was bringing workouts to a close for the time being.

Clinton High School athletics director Louie Alexander said, “Out of an abundance of caution and due to the Laurens County Covid-19 pandemic numbers, we are suspending all athletic activities until further notice.”

Laurens District High School’s head football coach, Daryl Smith, said, “I support what Dr. (Ameca) Thomas (incoming superintendent) has done because she is doing what she believes is right, and I support what Jerome (Singleton, commissioner of the S.C. High School League) said [Thursday]. This is getting bad, and if it takes some sacrifices for us to play football this fall, I’m all for it.”

The SCHSL put off any loosening of current restrictions and announced that fines and other punishments would be levied against any schools found in violation of the existing restrictions.

Laurens Academy, which has been holding similarly restricted workouts since June 1 and is under the governance of the S.C. Independent School Association, is continuing its workouts as mandated by statewide officials, according to athletics director Travis Plowden. Head football coach Todd Kirk is also the school’s headmaster.

None of the three county schools has had any athlete test positive for COVID-19, which has affected over 200,000 people in the United States. Incidence of the novel coronavirus has skyrocketed recently in many states, including the entire South, in the past few weeks even as it leveled off in urban areas.

Smith was frustrated by the stoppage but upbeat about what the Raiders have accomplished since they began working out on June 15, two weeks after LA and a week after CHS.

We’ve spent two weeks of practice without a football and still getting things accomplished,” he said. “All the players and coaches were showing up with great attitudes. I’m proud of how our players handled the practices and even more proud of how they handled the news we were shut down and have to wait a little longer to start. The positive mental attitude I saw in the comments I received from them were amazing. I truly believe these guys will find a way to accomplish our mission, no matter what adversity they face.”