A Very Merry COVID Homecoming?
Happy Homecoming during remnants of a pandemic.
By: Sarah Cowgill | October 4, 2021 | 453 Words
Homecoming is a time for current students, staff, and former students to show appreciation for the school. Kids and advisors spend hours creating floats for the traditional parade. Each day leading up to the football game is meant to bring out creativity: from hippy costumes to the disco era and dressing as what you want to be when you are an adult, the week is filled with freedom and fun. First, there are the traditional bonfires and pep rallies to whip up enthusiasm. Then, of course, school royalty is crowned during the Friday night game at halftime, which leads to the Saturday night semi-formal dance.
Well, that’s what it used to be. But COVID-19 has also left its mark on this rite of passage. After nearly two years of school closures and new variants, school districts have made changes to Homecoming in 2021.
Many schools have already canceled events, citing the COVID outbreak or worrying about the virus spreading if large groups get together. Benton City, Washington, has rescheduled its events. Dolores, Colorado, postponed most of its events after some students tested positive for the virus. Bridgeport, Ohio, chose to cancel its Homecoming game but still hopes to hold a dance.
Many schools in Western Michigan held their events – including the dance – outdoors. Shadow Ridge High School in Las Vegas, after missing Homecoming 2020, had its party on the football field. And no heels were allowed. It was reminiscent of the 1950s “sock hops” in the school gymnasium – to keep the basketball court from being marked with street shoes, partygoers wore only socks.
Some parents have planned their own private events for Homecoming and Spirit Week. One school in Maine, near Kennebunkport, canceled their dance but had a parade and football game. Parents felt that since nearly all eligible students in the district were vaccinated, a dance should be a safe event. One of the parents hosting the private dance said they had sold 175 tickets and raised money on a GoFundMe webpage to help with costs. The school district disagrees with the private dance, and is warning parents to keep their kids at home.
Whether or not Homecoming events have been canceled, modified, or privately held without school permission, each school district is simply working with its own area’s situation and COVID-19 outbreak cases. As a result, rural schools have much less worry than schools in a big city where thousands of people may come into contact.
Parents and school districts are both trying to do what is best for their student community.