How COVID-19 has affected clubs and sports

Valentina Contreras, Writer

Design by Valentina Contreras

As the COVID-19 pandemic keeps taking everyone by storm, a lot of schools around the nation are starting to go full online. OHS is taking many precautions to be able to go by a hybrid system for as long as they can, without harming anyone. Coaches and advisers have come up with their own safe ways of keeping up with their teams, these include email communication, outdoor activities, hosting meetings at places big enough to socially distance and video chats.

Staff at OHS have tried their hardest to make sure everything feels as normal as it could, OHS cheerleading coach Ms. Mara Oien said, “During our practices, all of our teams must stay socially distant whenever possible. For example when we practice dances, chants and our school song we try to make sure we are six feet apart. When we are stunting we obviously cannot be six feet apart, so we are required to wear a mask.” The cheerleaders have faced many differences this year, including their homecoming halftime routine. Since they were not able to do it this year, they are currently working on posting one on their social media accounts.

Band adviser Mr. Peter Guenther mentioned how he believes some students have felt discouraged through this time. Mr.Guenther said, “Not just the band members, I would say our athletes, our competitive sports events, our pep fests and special events that would have music there, have been silenced. When you change culture, there are ripple effects, first the visual of the band not appearing, and then the emotional one of how the environment that is usually taken for granted now changes.” A message Mr.Guenther has for his students is, “Remember this time. The time when what we did was appreciated and suddenly silenced. We will never be taken for granted ever again. We will have our musical and cultural renewal, and it will feel fantastic. Make a difference in yourself and each other every day.”

Make sure you’re not only thinking about your health and exposure to covid but the team’s exposure

— Gracyn Durand

Sophomore Kinzie Carlson is part of many different clubs and sports including, mock trial, speech, girl scouts, swim team, robotics and girls united. Carlson said, “Swimming has been very odd this year, because all of our meets have been virtual. Every meet, our team swam at our school and the opposing team swam at theirs, and we sent each other the results. There were only a few parents allowed at each meet, and they had to sit far away from everyone else. It was a very weird season.” Carlson also said that she has not lost any interest in any of her activities, but they are simply not as fun, her message to the school is, “Please wear your mask!! Let’s keep it so we can be in school.”

Junior Brenden Drever is involved in cross country, basketball, track, band and choir. When it comes to differences, Drever said, “Cross country took a very different shape this year in the way our meets were held. They were a lot smaller and we were in and out very quick. There was very little time to warm-up or cool down. Having smaller meets isn’t necessarily a bad thing though because the start isn’t nearly as crowded as it was in the past.” Drever believes that everyone should embrace the fact that not everything will be normal.

Valentina Contreras

Freshman Gracyn Durand participates in volleyball and lacrosse. Her volleyball team faced many hardships since someone on their team contracted COVID-19, this caused all of them to have to quarantine to prevent a potential spread. They had to miss a couple of their games since they were stuck at home and now that everyone is done quarantining they have either practice or a game every week. Staying at home affected their ability to perform at the fullest potential since they weren’t practicing as much as the other teams were. Durand said, “Make sure you’re not only thinking about your health and exposure to covid but the team’s exposure.”

Whether things get better or worse worldwide or in the Owatonna community, it is important to follow protocol, socially distance when sick, wear a mask in public, keep your hands clean and spread a positive attitude. This is the new normal, so it is better to make the best of it to slow the spread.