Covid’s Effect On Homecoming Week

A year with dramatic change on the nationwide high school holiday

Empty+Senior+Hall+on+the+main+floor+where+hall+decorations+take+place%2C+but+not+this+year+due+to+precautions+taken+in+light+of+Covid.

Clarion photo Danny Danh

Empty Senior Hall on the main floor where hall decorations take place, but not this year due to precautions taken in light of Covid.

Homecoming is one of America’s most famous high school rituals. The first Homecoming game was played on Northrop field against Minnesota’s rival: the Wisconsin Badgers, in which Minnesota won 14-3. In 1914, the first annual Homecoming dance was hosted. Students dressed in their best clothing and used the dance as an opportunity to connect with their special someone, and a tradition was born.

Nowadays, it’s a week filled with preparation towards a pep rally, parade, football game and a dance – an experience for all grades, freshman through senior. This year however, due to COVID-19, we have had many limitations and restrictions put in place for this event. We spoke to some important staff about this week.

We first interviewed Jan Watt, the special projects coordinator.

Clarion: How important is homecoming to the students?

Jan Watt: Oh it’s huge, there is no question it’s huge, it’s always been huge. The significance of the event is it’s a major fall activity for students of all grades to get together and to enjoy or attend an athletic event or to participate in spirit events. As the year goes on, you’re more likely to participate in it because you had fun during homecoming. There were a variety of events that went into this. Every fall event was a part of this.

C: What are your opinions on this year’s hall decs?

JW: We used to have what are called hall decorations. There was a theme, and every class did something. The floats and the homecoming parade represented each class, and then the winner of this spirit week award (homecoming spirit award) was announced. Things like hall decs, it brings a lot of people together and a lot of kids who have never dreamed of participating in something and being able to do it.

C: What’s different this year from others, and what did you have to work around?

JW: We had 200 kids at night, the night before the competition decorating the halls, it was awesome. That’s one of the things that had to be sacrificed. The advanced leadership class deserves a ton of credit for all they’ve done to pull this thing together because obviously, it was not clear if we would even be allowed to do a homecoming this year because of all of the Covid restrictions, so those kids deserve a ton of credit for pulling this together. The other thing is that Susie Brighouse as the activities director and Lureena Weesner who assists her, have spent hours and hours and hours pulling this together.

We then interviewed Susie Brighouse, the leadership and activities director, over email.

C: How have the complications of Covid affected homecoming week as a whole?

SB: The district would not allow any inside gatherings, so assembly and dance could not happen. We also have students who are new to Leadership and only know online school. Learning to plan an in-person event for the entire school takes experience. Only a handful of students in Leadership were in Leadership two years ago. They were sophomores the last time we were in school. Now they have to step up and plan events that they only experienced once. It’s going to take time to build things back to where they were two years ago. That’s why our theme is “Bringing Spirit Back!”

Putting all of these perspectives together from Susie Brighouse and Jan Watt, what we can understand is that homecoming was originally not going to work due to COVID-19. However, thanks to leadership’s hard work and the project coordinators, homecoming was able to be implemented with only a few sacrifices. We were able to have spirit week which included CHS Day, PJ Day, Twin Day, Earth Day, Jersey Day and Pink Out! We were also able to host a men’s varsity soccer game against Franklin, which ended with a tie of 0-0.