Student extracurricular activities adapt to pandemic restrictions
January 20, 2021
Due to COVID-19, many changes have been made to the participation of extracurricular activities, including clubs, sports and volunteer opportunities. Many students are still partaking in their extracurriculars while also taking safety precautions.
Despite the pandemic removing in-person volunteer opportunities, there are still many ways that students can complete SSL hours remotely. Volunteering can range from participating in Zoom calls or completing work from home. RM students can discover volunteer opportunities from chatting with their counselors or by looking on the Montgomery County Volunteer Center website.
Additionally, the Montgomery County student athletics program has been altered to meet COVID-19 health guidelines. MCPS is currently in Phase One of the R.A.I.S.E. Program, a plan to safely return the athletics program back to normal. During Phase One, there are multiple guidelines that must be followed by school sports teams. A list of rules provided by MCPS Athletics states that “under no circumstances may MCPS coaches engage in in-person contact with students.”
Although MCPS athletes are not engaging in in-person practices and games, many teams outside of school are still playing while taking safety measures. “[Coaches] still obviously make us wear masks and socially distance during the majority of practice,” freshman Oguz Tanatar, a soccer player, said. Tanatar also mentioned that student athletes have modified practices to avoid touching sports equipment.
At the same time, RM clubs are still active virtually and use many different online platforms to stay connected with members. Black Maskers, RM’s student drama club, routinely hosts workshops over Zoom and contacts members using the Slack platform. Other music clubs still consistently rehearse together. “We have virtual rehearsals normally every Thursday and we use Zoom to do it,” sophomore Devlin Mangan, a participant of RM’s marching band, said.
Although the pandemic has altered the daily lifestyles of many, a number of students are finding consistency in continuing meetings with their extracurriculars. “Even though it has been very hard to adapt to, the virtual rehearsals still help both my musical improvement. [It] also keeps a sense of normalcy,” Mangan said.
Although being online has made it more difficult for some students to improve in their extracurriculars, others feel like they have advanced in skills they usually wouldn’t have the opportunity to do so during an average year. “[I] ended with far stronger legs compared to other years. Since [coaches] don’t want us to touch stuff, we do more conditioning, which is what builds muscle,” Tanatar said.
Many students have also been practicing on their own time to make sure they can maintain their extracurricular skills. “I have taken steps to improve myself because it is very hard to improve in a virtual setting where you rarely play,” Mangan said.