Edina High School is preparing for its annual homecoming season, but the circumstances under which it will take place are anything but normal. The festivities of the upcoming homecoming game may appear to be the usual, but EHS is taking many precautions in attempts to prevent the COVID complications that could follow the events.
Throughout the 2020-2021 school year, EHS has attempted to keep COVID out of the schools. Gretchen Gosh, one of the registered nurses at the high school, spoke of the many different precautions that the school uses to ensure the least amount of risk of contracting COVID.
“We like to use what we call the Swiss cheese model. Swiss cheese has all of those holes in it and if you put a lot of the pieces with holes together, eventually it forms one big solid block of Swiss cheese,” Gosh said. With the measures EHS is putting in place, she expresses her confidence in its ability to keep students safe. She mentioned measures such as having appropriate ventilation in all classrooms, hand washing and sanitizing, appropriately wearing a mask, and vaccination. Gosh said that vaccination is their strongest measure of protection, which the district can see by comparing the pre and post-vaccine infection rates.
As EHS returns towards its pre-pandemic ways, homecoming poses as an opportunity to display normalcy. Third-year Student Council member and EHS junior, Helen Schilling, described the difficulties of planning last year’s events versus these upcoming ones.
“I think [the planning] was definitely harder. A really good example of that was the coronation during Sweethearts, and [EHS] was going to have our coronation, and then it got totally postponed because someone on court got COVID,” Schilling said. She elaborated that there have been less difficulties this year with planning.
Schilling said that the Student Council has been trying its best to make it as similar to a normal year as possible, but EHS has had to include new safety measures to protect people during the homecoming dance and game. These guidelines include wearing masks and having an outdoor area where students can take “mask breaks” during the dance itself.
“Being masked I think is probably like the biggest thing because we don’t want it to be dangerous, and obviously you can’t control the distancing at the dance all that much,” Schilling said.
In the coming weeks, EHS will be able to observe the repercussions of the homecoming dance and game. “I’m certainly hopeful that we won’t have any spike or anything like that related to homecoming, but if there is something, then we will respond to it, and that’s the best we can do” Beaton said. He continues to encourage students to be smart, reminding them to use their common sense and wear a mask at the events.