COVID-19 safety protocols alter homecoming dance and rally traditions

Dance and rally moved to outdoor locations

Unlike previous homecoming weeks, this year’s homecoming rally and dance has and will take place in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines. The rally took place on Friday, Sept. 24 at the football stadium. The “A Night in Hollywood” homecoming dance will take place at the basketball cages on Saturday, Sept. 25 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Because of COVID-19 safety measures, various changes were made to accommodate the rally and homecoming dance — the most significant being moving their locations to an outdoor area where students can all safely gather at one time. For the homecoming dance, students must get tested for COVID-19 at least 72 hours prior to attending regardless of vaccination status.

“For the rally, it was a simple decision to have it in the football stadium due to the fact it has the capacity to fit all the students yet still be outside allowing it to be COVID-19 compliant,” ASB president Amaan Nabeel wrote to the Talon.

The students in ASB worked to keep the same activities that usually occur during rallies.

“The games that typically take place on the gym floor will take place on the field and on the track,” assistant principal Jason Meskis said.

Although this year’s homecoming dance is not located in the gym as it usually is, the students in ASB will work to decorate the basketball cages just like they would decorate the gym.

“Normally, the gym is transformed into [something that] looks like you are going into a club or something. There are lights and they are still going to do that in the outdoor cages, but [ASB] will make it nice,” Meskis said.

After more than a year of missing in-person school events, ASB hopes that the dance and rally will still allow students to have an “amazing” time and boost school spirit, according to Nabeel. Sophomore Olivia Papanicolaou on the OPHS cheerleading team has expectations for the dance and rally that seem to fit this goal.

“I am very excited because I get to perform at the rally in front of the entire school and for homecoming, I am looking forward to hanging out with my friends and eating food,” Papanicolaou said.