Homecoming week is an exciting time to be in high school. Theme days, going dress and mum shopping, finding a date, going to the game, and voting for homecoming court. Usually, this time of the semester, the halls are filled with students buzzing with excitement.
This year, not so much.
With half the student body attending virtual academy classes, CDC social distancing policies for in-person students, and the fact that there is no official dance, like everything else this year, COVID-19 has changed the way we celebrate Homecoming.
In accordance with CDC and TEA guidelines that prohibit large social gatherings without masks and social distancing, there will be no Homecoming dance this year. Some of the festivities, such as theme days and the football game will still occur, but the dance floor will be empty this year.
Well, it is supposed to be empty. However, it seems as though many students are ignoring the fact that the dance has been cancelled, and are continuing to celebrate, just on their own.
Scroll through the homecoming hashtag on Instagram and pictures of parties with dozens of maskless students will show up, proving how dangerous and reckless some kids at other schools have been despite the dance being cancelled at all Frisco ISD schools.
This behavior needs to be discouraged by the school, and students need to be reminded of the real consequences their decisions have.
Throughout the year Redhawks sit for things such as Redhawk Rant where students learn about the dangers of vaping, drug abuse, and underage drinking. These presentations give students reminders about the consequences of dangerous habits, and in the midst of a pandemic, when cases are only rising, going out and having large gatherings is as dangerous as it can be.
The school has no way to prohibit students from hosting their own parties or gatherings, but they can help highlight the recklessness and danger of it. If students are made to sit down and really listen to the heartbreak and hardship COVID-19 has brought into people’s lives the same way they are made to listen to tales about peer pressure and drug abuse, some of them might be deterred from going to a party or hanging out without masks.
Yes, everyone wants things to go back to normal. And yes, for the senior class who have already lost so many of their final events, wanting to celebrate Homecoming is natural.
But, no matter what, things are not normal, and they are not going to be normal for a very long time until everyone does their part by social distancing and not gathering in large groups.
When schools shut down in March, there were barely one thousand cases in all of Texas. Now, Texas has surpassed one million people who have contracted the virus.
It seems as though almost every day an email is sent home regarding new cases of COVID on campus, and that is reason enough to start to educate students about the consequences of gathering during the pandemic. The parties that are being hosted because of Homecoming are not the exception. There were large gatherings on Halloween, during every long weekend, and every holiday.
Students need to be made aware of the dangers of going out, because after the numerous gatherings and parties, it’s apparent that something isn’t clicking. Since the school can’t control what students do outside of campus, they can inform them of the consequences of their actions during the pandemic.