Big 6 hope for return to normality

Students+at+Hawk+Walk+2021

© HAWKEYE Hawkeye Staff

Students – new and veteran – stopped by MTHS for the annual Hawk Walk process, which is a time for students to get an ASB card, get a Chromebook, check out the ASB merchandise, and learn about clubs, activities and sports among many other activities. This year, the event was held outside on the terrace just outside the HUB due to COVID. Students who were unfamiliar with the campus could also take a tour led by an upperclassman that left from the terrace about every 30 minutes or so. The weather cooperated and the Sept. 1 event was as popular as ever.

By Rachel Davis and Maggie O'Hara

After a long year and a half of waiting, MTHS students are finally allowed back into the building full time for what many hope to be a normal school year. While the Delta variant of COVID-19 threatens the normality of the year, for now students begin fully in-person on Sept. 8. While the start to the year may seem somewhat normal, there are going to be several restrictions in place, some similar to the hybrid system in the 2020-2021 school year, but some will be a little lighter due to more students being vaccinated. 

One of the many social aspects that was taken away from students throughout remote learning is the Associated Student Body (ASB) events. These events are known as some of the highlights of the school year. Dances, fundraisers, assemblies and many other activities organized to engage the community are run by the ASB, who this year, have taken extra caution in considering what to do for the upcoming school year. 

“With the spike in COVID-19 cases and the Delta variant out there, we are definitely restricted quite a bit with what we can and can’t do,” Big 6 Treasurer Theresa Van said. “As of right now, everything is up in the air and we aren’t exactly sure what will happen.” 

During the 2020-2021 school year, due to the pandemic, the ASB was unable to plan any in-person events until the last quarter, when students returned to school in the hybrid model. As in-person activities were slowly introduced, the school held sports games with limited audiences, and the ASB held a senior movie night in place of the senior prom.

With the return to fully in-person school comes a greater opportunity to host events and build a sense of community, and the ASB plans to safely hold as many engaging and community building events as they can to make up for the previous year. 

“There is a bit of a struggle between keeping things safe and fun at the same time,” Van said. “One thing we have been reminding ourselves recently is to think outside the box and try not to fall back on things done in the past, especially ones that weren’t as popular among the students despite how often they’ve been executed by previous generations of Big 6 and ASB.”

Even today, the ASB is actively planning out the events for the coming year, as they themselves do not have much information due to the constantly changing state of the pandemic and safety regulations. Consequently, events and plans could change at any time.

Since ASB events are normally designed for socializing,it’s difficult to maintain certain traditions from past years with restrictions on large social gatherings. The ASB is trying their best to continue popular traditions while navigating the ever-changing conditions of the pandemic.

“While we won’t be able to host as many of our traditions as years past, we are still working on making the ones we can execute safely into reality,” Van said. “Even when there aren’t events we will try to interact with the community through our multiple media platforms as well as reaching out to students throughout the year.”

For now, the changes that have been made to the events are drastic, and will change the entire face of the event. One of the biggest changes is that indoor events such as assemblies, dances and other events that involve gathering large crowds together are currently prohibited. 

“Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we are no longer allowed to hold indoor assemblies for the time being since that would be putting a large population of the school at risk of infection,” Van said. “There is no guarantee for second semester, but as far as we are aware of from the Snohomish County Health Department we are not allowed to host major events with a large population of attendants in an enclosed area, and for the safety of our staff and students we will choose to honor that and follow it diligently.”

The reaction to the new rules concerning assemblies varies from student to student, but in general it is seen as a regular part of school spirit that will be missed. 

However, there are other ways to make up for this missing aspect of spirit, some of which will include, as Van said, thinking outside of the box and coming up with new ways to bring the community together. A way to do this is by turning to the audience, the students of MTHS, for help on knowing what they would want.

“We’ve also resorted to frequently asking MTHS students what they would like to see done, and trying to adjust those suggestions accordingly to the county’s health restrictions,” Van said. “Our number one priority while planning and executing events for the year is the safety of all students and staff, and we will not hesitate to adjust our plans to ensure that.” 

As we all have learned from last year, things are subject to change. While it is likely things will turn for the better and more school events will be allowed to take place, there is the possibility of returning back to a hybrid or fully remote schedule. Regardless, but especially in that case, the ASB will try their best to keep students engaged through alternative ways.

“Even when there aren’t events we will try to interact with the community through our multiple media platforms,” Van said, “as well as reaching out to students throughout the year.” Even as students return to the building, the 2021-2022 school year will be far from a regular year. Things will change, things will look different and it may be strange to get used to at first. 

All in all, the ASB is doing their best to make sure this year will have the same level of spirit as years previous. “We here at ASB know it’s been an extremely difficult year, and that everyone is excited to come back to school in person after having to see each other through computer screens for so long. But we would also like to remind everyone that things aren’t going to be exactly the same as before, and that we can only do so much while trying to keep everyone safe,” Van said. “Please be patient with us this year and we hope to see you all soon. Stay healthy and safe, and Go Hawks!”