Over the past couple of weeks, I keep hearing a common complaint from my own classmates, from seniors, freshmen, and sophomores. It is not that Junior Ring and graduation are outside, it is not that masks still have to be worn, it is not about exams or the stress of fourth quarter school, it is that we can’t have dances this year even though I and many others believe they can be held within a safe environment.
Dances have been a staple at SLUH for decades, providing a bonding opportunity for classmates, and a chance to interact with girls at an all-boys school. It is an event that many look forward to throughout the year. At first glance, it appears that dances cannot be a safe event during a pandemic, given that it brings lots of people together in tight quarters. However, I believe that given the current situation of the nation and through implementing safety measures, dances can be done in a safe yet still fun manner.
Over the course of the year, many new safety protocols have shown incredible results, so there is no reason why those guidelines cannot be further implemented for a dance. One protocol that should be heavily enforced during dances would be to make masks mandatory for the entire time on campus; masks have proven incredibly effective at protecting us from Covid-19, and they would still be effective during a dance.
Another policy to put in place is to have each person go through a check-in procedure upon arrival similar to what we do going into school. Furthermore, chaperones should be allowed to ban all mosh pits and enforce that anyone participating in them will be asked to leave the dance.
When there were talks about having a Senior Prom it was said that all attendees would have to have proof of a negative Covid test, or that they are vaccinated, so therefore, we could plan to do that. We are blessed to have large outdoor spaces, and there is plenty of room to host a dance outside on the upper field or on the football field and create a safe and fun atmosphere. Furthermore, if we hold dances after the school year is over, we can limit the chance of exposing our fellow students, and by the time summer activities such as Direction Days and summer school start up, they will already be past the two-week incubation period.
There are plenty of safe ways to hold a dance, we just have to be creative.
Two months ago, I would have totally agreed that it was not safe to hold a dance in any capacity, but given that so many members within our school community and the entire nation have been vaccinated, I believe that it is safe and possible to hold a dance without putting anybody that is vulnerable at risk. Many of the most vulnerable and susceptible to Covid-19 have already received their vaccinations creating a smaller chance that it could be spread to somebody that would be severely impacted by it.
Students are already hanging out with their friends in pre-Covid ways (i.e. no masks or social distancing), so why not give students a place where they can talk and hang out in a safe environment? Other area high schools such as St. Joe and Cor Jesu are doing proms or creating their own version of prom. If they have found a way, I believe that we can, too.
This past year, so many activities and opportunities have been taken away from students, especially the seniors, so I ask the administration: find some way to bring back this end-of-the-year staple. Give these students the chance to relax and enjoy themselves at a somewhat normal event and to simply be with their brothers making their last few memories before their time is up.
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