In the Midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic, More Extracurricular Clubs Should Use Virtual Platforms
Carly Brail, Grade 10, Staff Writer
Alongside the question of when and how schools will reopen in the fall is a parallel question: when and how will extracurricular clubs resume?
Extracurricular clubs were immediately suspended at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, and many clubs faced uncertainty over whether to continue virtually or withhold until September. With only a few exceptions, such as the Women’s Empowerment Club and the Chocolate Milk Club, most clubs were temporarily discontinued -- eliminating a space where students connect to one another in social and enrichment activities. Yet, extracurricular clubs did not have to end.
The Model United Nations (MUN), where delegates compete in weekend conferences against dozens of other schools, took a month-long pause at the start of the outbreak. Then, its members got to work online. On May 31, the HSAS team participated in a Zoom-based MUN conference hosted by Trinity High School, with 56 participants from 8 different schools. It was a seamless experience with few technical difficulties, and almost identical to the in-person experience, except for the lack of commute and business dress code.
The simple organization of this conference demonstrated the ease at which club events could be moved online. The use of Zoom ensured that all delegates present were able to participate, and through the use of breakout rooms, people were even able to meet privately with other participants. Participants viewed the event as a success.
In the fall, even if schools resume in-person, a similar plan could be applied to other inter-school competitive clubs. By cutting out the commute and gathering of hundreds of students, participants are spared from coming in contact with the virus and can still participate in clubs while maintaining their health and safety. Most importantly, extracurricular clubs enable students to engage in productive, fun activities that provide social and academic benefits. Continuing extracurricular clubs online can be, and should be, a fall priority.