COVID-19 Comes Home?

Stevenson holds its first Homecoming in two years, albeit with some modifications to address COVID-19 concerns.

COVID-19 Comes Home?

Student Council Vice President Aditi Ambravan ’22 hangs up vintage, chic decorations all around the school in preparation for the dance. Images of students flaunting their pressed suits and flashy dresses as they hide smiles behind their masks fill her thoughts. After two years, Homecoming has finally returned to Stevenson High School.

Homecoming was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns, but returned this year on October 2. Students attending the event had to follow certain guidelines regarding masks, social distancing and other COVID-19 mitigation strategies in order to make people feel comfortable.

Ambravan also served as liaison for planning Homecoming; her responsibilities included planning and ordering decorations and materials as well as working out all the logistics. Student Council was responsible for creating the theme, setting up decorations and managing the event. 

“Our theme is going to be Roaring Twenties,” Ambravan said. “It’s really cool; there’s going to be a lot of black, white and gold decorations as well as red carpets and boas. You can compare it to The Great Gatsby.”

Homecoming took place indoors and although the homecoming attendee vaccination rate is unknown, approximately 70 percent of Stevenson students are fully vaccinated, according to the Stevenson website. Those that were unvaccinated had to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result. An anonymous parent source expressed their concerns regarding the safety of Homecoming.

“It is good that students are having opportunities to get back to normal, and I think Stevenson is working hard to make sure the students and staff are as safe as possible,” the parent said. “I would personally feel more comfortable with larger events if the rate of student vaccination was higher.”

Despite the parent’s concerns, other social events, such as the Freshman Mixer, proved to have a low number of COVID-19 cases. In preparation for Homecoming, Student Council used this data from the Freshman Mixer to guide their decisions. 

“We did study the COVID-19 data from the Freshman Mixer in order to come to a decision on Homecoming,” Ambravan said. “[The Freshman Mixer] was outside and it wasn’t really distanced and there were no masks.”

During Homecoming not only were students able to dance inside while masked, but for the first time there was an outdoor option available with a DJ club providing music, with masks optional. Student Council hoped that the outdoor option would help to mitigate COVID-19 risks and provide a level of comfort to those still wary of the indoor safety risks.  

“One really important thing is the availability of choice this year,” Ambravan said. “So of course we want all students, regardless of comfort level, to be able to be involved in the dance, especially due to COVID-19.”

The student population mirrors Student Council’s excitement to showcase their hard work in preparation for Homecoming. Sean Smith ’23 relays his enthusiasm, as he was interested in seeing how the night would play out. 

“I’m excited to see what the school has done to make the event both safe and fun,” Smith said. 

After over a year of remote learning, Homecoming signified a slow return to normalcy. Students may have been masked, but they were able to dance, laugh and enjoy each other’s company. 

“It’s a really big community [event] for Stevenson,” Ambravan said. “Homecoming every year is like that, but I think this year it’s especially more important, because we haven’t really had that — students and community coming together in person — in the past two years. And honestly, it’s so fun when we do and it’s just a great experience overall.”