Glenbard West’s in-person activities acclimate to challenges this year with new safety procedures

Ariel Russell, Contributing Writer

As the beginning of our school year unfolds, students and staff are facing difficulties operating clubs and activities like normal. However, some clubs that have been given the appropriate resources have been able to distinguish their own “new-normal” by becoming creative with their gatherings. 

Choir has been able to hold an in-person rehearsal recently, but not in the way you would expect. Mrs. McGann, the Activities Director at Glenbard West, can testify to this as she was there to witness it: “choir had a socially-distanced practice outside. Mr. Jeffrey had to buy these signing masks … [and] it was really fun” still. Despite the circumstances, her positivity is radiating. “The sponsors are getting so creative,” she says. 

Other groups that have been holding in-person meetings are Chess Club (due to their tournament being held in-person) and the Toadies. They do so by maintaining social distancing and sanitizing any frequently touched surfaces. 

This year’s homecoming pep-rally has also seen some modifications; the students and staff did not congregate in the gymnasium. Instead, sports and clubs lined Hawthorne Avenue while alumni, students, and parents were driving through. This parade-like event was Hawaiian Nights themed to bring up the spirit of homecoming traditions. 

The new requirements for these in-person meetings vary greatly from previous years. “It’s the guidelines, it’s the restrictions that make them different,” says Mr. Mitchell, Assistant Principal of Student Services. The safety of students and staff is the main priority, and “everyone that comes in for an activity gets a kit that has spray, hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, and thermometers.”

Before anyone can enter the building they need to go through a self-certification process and a thermal body temperature scan at the entrance. This is to decrease the chances of someone entering the building as a carrier of the virus. In the case that someone does test positive or has a fever, they are told to stay home and follow up with the health office for contact tracing purposes. 

Most students and staff can agree that they miss interacting with other people at school, but some would argue that it still may not be safe despite the safety measures. Best Buddies member Sophia Lee has taken a stance on this issue, arguing “it is in everyone’s best interest to remain remote until a successful vaccine is dispersed.” 

Contrary to this, some find that interaction is integral to the school structure. Mrs. McGann has her own opinion on how activities should be organized: “everyone wants to do what’s best for students, and that is offering an opportunity to get together but doing it in the safest way possible.” This would follow the current guidelines put in place with the hybrid model structure. 

It is expected that the negatives would outweigh the positives this year, but Mr. Mitchell would like to stress just how important it is to involve yourself in activities: “for students who have not been in activities or haven’t joined anything because of the fact that it’s all remote … I would encourage them to get out of their comfort zone … it’s a very low-stake, low-pressure way to meet people.” This is the time to consider joining a club that you might have previously ignored. 

Chloe Tovo from German Club wishes that her fellow students “keep a good mindset and try to stay positive.” 

Schoology updates include a variety of beneficial information regarding the status of the pandemic in our county and upcoming activities/events at school and in our community. Students are encouraged to seek out any interests of theirs by participating in activities/events.