On-Campus Activities: Will Bobcats Be Taking Part?

Girls volleyball athletes gather at their first on-campus practice. Volleyball is currently in off season training with groups of 14 athletes maximum to abide by safety protocol. (Photo Courtesy of Malea Williams)

On March 13, students said goodbye to teachers and friends, unsure of how long the pandemic would last. Adapting to online learning ensued with complaints of a lack of socialization and overwhelming mental health issues. According to a Gallup poll from June, three in 10 students experienced emotional or mental harm due to school closure. 

With consideration of safety regulations, the CUSD board has formed a plan to get students back on campus for activities, clubs, and athletics. The plan was put into motion Oct. 12, seven months after school closure, in hopes of reconnecting the student community. While some students remain wary of returning to campus, it is safe to say the necessity to reconnect is the most prominent emotion for the majority of students. 

“I’ve taken enough safety precautions throughout this whole COVID-19 experience and I know that the people in my dance company have as well and same with the people in my club,” senior Chloe Blankenhorn said. “It always benefits us to do things in-person.”  

Blankenhorn returned to campus on Oct. 13 for the Sage Creek Dance Company practice. She hopes to plan events at the on-campus kitchen for the Health is Wealth Club she is co-founding president of. 

Volleyball athletes also return to campus Tuesdays through Thursdays for off-season training with consideration of safety regulations and limited group numbers.  

On Oct. 6, Sage Creek High School released the purpose, process and protocols for on-campus activities. Protocols are explicitly listed for those returning to ensure safety while reconnecting the Bobcat community. (Graphic from Sage Creek High School)

“I haven’t played with the school team in over a year and it’s a really fun way to bond and get to know more people at school,” volleyball athlete and sophomore Haley Penfield said. 

Penfield finds the guidelines for campus activities to be safe, allowing students to make connections with one another while maintaining six-foot distance and masks on at all times. 

Extracurricular activities are valuable to the high school experience as they shape students and allow them to stand out from others when applying to colleges. While the closure of school interrupted extracurriculars, some found ways to still connect online.

“Being able to do [extracurriculars] during my senior year is kind of important, but I’ve still been able to manage all these extracurriculars, even while we’re not at school,” senior Jackson Duong said. 

Duong has been mainly involved in Key Club and Link Crew virtually, allowing him to stay engaged amidst social distance learning. Although he believes on-campus activity is a step in the right direction, Duong feels he won’t be completely comfortable returning to campus until students no longer have to wear masks or keep six feet.

Some students are still undecided on if they will be returning to on-campus activities. Clubs hope to participate in activities and reconnect, though this is a struggle for larger clubs such as Environmental Club with 51 members as safety protocol calls for 14 students and two advisors maximum when gathering. 

“I’m not entirely sure. I’ll probably plan something in the future for Environmental Club, but we just have to work that out and figure out how we’re going to do everything safely,” Environmental Club president and junior Kennedy Parker said. 

In time, more clubs plan to host on-campus activities and sports plan to return for practice. These events allow students to build community and reconnect in-person, making it a worthwhile return for some. Regardless of personal decisions in terms of on-campus activities, it is clear the necessity for socialization and normalcy can be agreed upon, which is luckily offered online still and in person now.