COVID-19, FEATURE — September 26, 2020 at 12:09 am

Social distancing guidelines alter the way students are getting involved in extracurriculars

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Female student wearing a mask next to a horse she rides as an extracurricular activity.
Senior Lindsey Salomone participates in her extracurricular activity while following COVID-19 guidelines. Wearing a mask and social distancing are just some of the ways students are staying safe. Photo by Gabriel Uchoa

COVID-19 has been a popular topic of discussion since the outbreak over six months ago. The pandemic has affected each and every aspect of life as we know it; from staying six feet apart to wearing face coverings while in public. Both the switch to remote learning and social distancing guidelines have had a tremendous effect on students’ extracurricular routines.

On Tuesday, July 14, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent, Robert Runcie, announced the requirement of virtual meetings for school clubs and postponed sporting events. 

The student body’s opinion differs when it comes to the conversation of conducting extracurricular gatherings online or in-person. Some students have the outlook that their extracurriculars, such as arts and drawing, have not undergone that drastic of a change and are still enjoyable. However, others believe that their extracurriculars, such as debate, don’t bring the same feeling of excitement. 

Off-campus sports such as basketball and soccer have continued with the only requirement being that the students must wear masks to practice. 

Clubs and tournaments are distinctly not the same online. Participating in these tournaments on sites, like Teams or Zoom, may take away the whole experience of an in-person competition with other schools for some students. Junior Matthew Veerasammy mentions that the aspect of interaction is a huge concern among students

“I am pleased with the fact that even though COVID-19 has put a boundary on clubs to have meetings in school, clubs are still able to be active and continue their effort of pursuing their goals,” Veerasammy said. “Clubs of right now have transitioned to something different by putting limitations on what exactly can be done. We have to adapt and be accustomed to the new environment, but I can say that I am just glad that we can continue our passion for our clubs.” 

Since COVID-19 has made extracurricular activities virtual, it has allowed students to participate in events and clubs that they might not have had the chance to attend before. During the pandemic, several students started volunteer programs such as Best Buddies and Key Club, and found it fitting as their new hobby.

“I’ve been trying to find other ways to maintain my extracurriculars like Best Buddies. I Zoom with my buddies for a long period of time,” senior Lindsey Salomone said. “For Key Club, we are coming up with virtual events. Through Key Club, I helped out a lot with Aston Gardens. We did a card-sending program.” 

Many athletes’ chances to get scholarships have been postponed because they are unable to play their preferred sports at the moment. During their perspective seasons, many students work to the utmost of their ability to get a scholarship opportunity. As the future of school sports is currently undecided, most chances of being acknowledged by scouts will be delayed until sports are able to return.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted my involvement in my extracurriculars through completely stopping my participation in volleyball,” senior Ciana Stellar said. “We have received virtual conditioning daily plans but have not begun seasonal in-person conditioning. The pandemic has certainly affected my chances of going to university on a volleyball scholarship.”

Some sports that require practicing with other students, such as wrestling, are forced to train harder individually until the season begins. Students now have to bring their own equipment to gyms, and the availability of local weight rooms, open gyms and fields is scarce.

For various students COVID-19 does not actively affect their participation in after school activities, yet they admit that it takes more effort to get involved. For others, COVID-19 altered the schedule of their extracurriculars to the point of delaying the season. 

Staffer

Chai-Lyn Christian is a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She enjoys writing.

Staffer

Megan Veerasammy is a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She is a first-year staff member for the Eagle Eye. She enjoys traveling, watching Netflix and hanging out with her friends.

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