Spring Semester Events Should Be Redesigned, Not Cancelled

by Aparna Deokar

Opinion

February 22, 2021

Last March, schools and businesses all over the world shut down, cancelling many events and gatherings. Almost a year later, BUA and much of the world find ourselves in the same dilemma concerning events — school is open, but events are still socially distanced or remote. I believe that preventing the spread of COVID-19 is of the utmost importance and that therefore, having no gatherings is better than being exposed to the coronavirus. But, where we are safely able to hold events, I think that events should be redesigned rather than canceled.

Though COVID-19 safety comes first, BUA events are important too. Especially this year, underclassmen and upperclassmen don’t get many chances to interact except for clubs, and events help to build a sense of community. Mia Shapoval ’22 describes BUA’s Spring Concert as a “reward” for the hard work throughout the year — it is disappointing that there may not be a concert this year, given the way things are going. And she recalls meeting many upperclassmen at Field Day as a freshman and calls it a “bonding experience.” Where possible, I believe that outdoor events such as Field Day should be redesigned with restrictions, such as social distancing and wearing masks. For these events, not too much would need to be changed to adapt to coronavirus restrictions, since the events are already outdoors and relatively distant. It’s especially important to hold these events for seniors, who have already missed out on last year’s spring events. Elizabeth Brown ‘24 comments, “I think for smaller events, it’s probably possible; Fall Fest happened in a really fun way and the Valentine’s Day sales were still able to happen.” I agree with this statement; for in-person students, these small gatherings were still able to serve their purposes of community building.

Remote BUA students would not be able to participate in these in-person events, but ideally, enough remote events would be provided, such as Zoom Olympics, which was an alternative for Field Day last year. Even for in-person students, few events could plausibly be held without Zoom, so the other option, which I strongly support, being a fully remote student myself, is to hold more remote gatherings. Many students grumble about boring gatherings over Zoom, but we’re gaining more experience with Zoom, and events such as Trivia Night have been a huge success. However, even with restrictions, I believe that some events, such as Prom, might have to be canceled. Prom is regarded as a symbolic, memorable event for juniors and seniors, so it is unfortunate that this year’s senior class might have to miss out on Prom entirely. But dances are hard to recreate in a socially distanced way or remotely, since online Zoom activities just aren’t the same and an in-person Prom would put many of BUA’s students at risk. Elizabeth remarks, “I don’t think there would be any way that [the Valentine’s Day Cabaret] could have been redesigned to be a functional event, since it couldn’t happen over Zoom, and it would be really hard to do a dance in person.” Excluding dances, many events could potentially be redesigned using Zoom, and we at BUA should make an effort to redesign them.

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