Scotus Central Catholic kicks off a strange and uncertain homecoming season this week, with the coronation on Friday after the game and the dance on Saturday.
Joan Lahm, student council adviser at Scotus, said they weren’t sure they would be able to have a homecoming dance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are happy to have one.
“Well, in order to have a dance, we have decided that we needed all the students to wear masks, and we decided to hold the dance in our smaller gym called Memorial Hall so that we could spread out a little bit more,” Lahm said.
The dance time will also be 30 minutes shorter this year.
“I’m excited that the students get a chance to have a homecoming dance,” said Lahm, who has been overseeing homecoming activities since 2003. “It’s been a great experience. I like the festivities. The whole week the students dress up in a theme and then they decorate their hallways.”
Coronation is also exciting, Lahm added, as she likes being around the fun environment.
This year, the theme is "USA All the Way," so essentially, red, white and blue.
“I’m really hoping if we follow the health guidelines, we’re going to be fine,” she said.
Lakeview’s homecoming week is Sept. 28 through Oct. 3, Superintendent Aaron Plas said in an email.
Columbus Public Schools will hold its coronation on Sept. 25, but its homecoming dance has been moved tentatively to Nov. 21.
“We’ll have 600-700 people that may attend a homecoming dance and so it just becomes a little harder to manage when the DHM's (Directed Health Measures are) still about wearing a mask and minimally staying 3 feet away from someone else. (I’m) not sure how you do that in a dance,” said Tim Kwapnioski, CHS director of athletics and activities. “Not one in which kids would probably find enjoyable.”
The other side of the coin is that the East-Central District Health Department's COVID dial is closer to orange right now. Orange indicates an elevated risk.
“It’s climbed up a little higher and so we want to be sensitive to that …Our priority is to keep the safety and health of our kids ..." he said. “The last thing that we need is to have a dance with 500, 600, 700 kids and all of a sudden we have an outbreak in our school of COVID and schools close down and online learning happens.”
School officials have also had conversations about what happens if the COVID situation does not improve, including possibly combining homecoming and the winter informal.
“Our intent is to have a dance if at all possible,” he said.
As for what homecoming dances will look like, at Scotus, students will be given a water bottle they can refill and there will be no food. There will also be hand sanitizer.
It is unclear if slow dancing will be possible.
“Until we do it, it’s kind of difficult to find out exactly what it’s going to look like,” Lahm said.
Carolyn Komatsoulis is a reporter for the Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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