As the second semester kicks off, ASB members are busy planning COVID-19 safe events and activities for students to enjoy.
Just days away from Valentine’s Day, senior and Spirit Commissioner Sabrina Chan said despite restrictive circumstances, ASB is continuing the tradition of holding “Love Week” at Paly, which includes Matchomatics, a survey that matches students with compatible peers, and Valgrams, which are small stuffed animals that students can send to their valentine.
Events and bonding activities specific to freshmen students, some of who have yet to attend high school in person, are a main priority for Shamsheer Singh, the freshman class president. Last semester, Singh helped set up study groups, where students got to know their peers over Zoom through shared class workloads, and plans to continue running them throughout this semester.
“We’re also thinking about doing a Game Pigeon tournament like the seniors did, and then try and do a movie night again because I think people liked that,” Singh said.
Unfortunately, online 8-ball tournaments are likely to be the extent of senior gameplay; senior class president Emma Lin said the traditional senior elimination game is difficult to simulate in the current virtual circumstances
“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking in terms of how we could alter it to make it COVID friendly, but honestly, it’s been kind of a struggle, and I don’t feel like there’s a good alternative,” Lin said.
While some traditions may be broken in order to abide by COVID-19 regulations, Lin said she is working to ensure new ones are born. She and other ASB members have been coordinating with a few seniors to create light-hearted videos for the class to remember their peers by.
“One is about random acts of kindness, another is fundraising through dares and we’re also planning on doing a ‘Survivor’ style TV show with Gunn,” Lin said. “We also filmed a Seniors Got Talent parody-type video and basically drove around, found some seniors and asked them to show their talents.”
Chan said several other events are in the works for everyone to enjoy, including a Mental Wellness week and a virtual Quadchella.
Graduation could still happen
Besides school-wide events, there are activities planned for just the senior class in the weeks that lead up to graduation.
“We put out an Instagram poll the other day to see senior interest in things, like float building, movie night on the quad, car parade, cap decorating and a night time scavenger hunt,” Lin said. “They mostly got positive feedback, so I think this week we’re going to be deciding which ones we want to focus on, running them by admin and then approving them with ASB.”
For the graduation ceremony, Lin said ASB is planning for several different scenarios depending on what tier Santa Clara county will be in come May.
“If we were in the purple tier, (graduation) wouldn’t be able to be in person because of the guidelines,” Lin said. “I don’t think anyone wants to do a virtual ceremony, but that’s obviously another option.”
In the case that Santa Clara county transitions into the red tier or below before graduation, Lin said a socially distanced, in-person graduation is definitely possible. But, she said that it presents its own set of challenges.
“There’s the idea of having a drive-in graduation, but the issue with that is there aren’t a lot of venues that have a big enough capacity for our grade,” Lin said. “(We) would probably have to be split up into groups –– either alphabetically, or maybe by request.”
Lin also said ASB is considering a socially distanced ceremony, where only students would attend and other guests and parents would watch through a livestream.
Spirit Week in the works
COVID-19’s influence on in-person events carries over from graduation to spirit week, one of the most anticipated events in a normal school year.
“At the beginning of the year, we were just calling to postpone spirit week until (spring), but then towards winter break, we were told that it was officially cancelled,” Chan said.
However, there may be hope for the future, with the fate of spirit week also residing on what tier Santa Clara county will be in come springtime.
“PTSA and other groups are starting to plan in-person senior events … if they can do those, we might be able to do some sort of hybrid spirit week, like partially in person and partially virtual,” Chan said.
Surveys gage student interest moving forward
Last semester, ASB hosted an array of virtual events, including Viking Week, an Among Us tournament, class-wide Kahoots and holiday-themed contests. Junior vice president Diana Narancic said she was pleased with the turnout at these events despite the circumstances.
“I’m really proud of the events we hosted last semester, but honestly, it’s hard to get students to come to the online virtual events, just because of Zoom fatigue,” Narancic said.
Looking forward, Narancic said she hopes by pushing out more surveys measuring student interest, ASB will attract more students to online events.
Narancic said, “We’re going to be sending out a survey to the student body about what kind of events they want to see, and what they think about the events.”