FHC’s clubs have gotten creative amongst COVID-19 rules

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Senior Julia Beaumont in years past would spend her Wednesday afternoons surrounded by other students involved in the Health Occupations Students of America club, or HOSA Future Health Professionals, tucked away in one of the classrooms at FHC. But now she finds herself hosting Zoom meetings as the club’s Vice President with the help of HOSA President senior Lynlee Derrick, and these calls come with their own set of challenges.

“[Zoom meetings have] made it a challenge to get to know newcomers,” Julia said, “but we are trying our best to make it work. Sometimes it is a challenge to truly converse and familiarize yourself with others over a Zoom call rather than an in-person club meeting.”

Along with trying to get to know new club members, board members of the club also have to adjust to running online meetings.

“It has been a new challenge for us board members to figure out the technology and run the meetings in these new circumstances that have never been dealt with before,” Julia said.

Along with having difficulties getting to know newcomers to the club and figuring out technical difficulties, the over-30-person club “likely won’t fit in the average-sized classroom” once students are able to safely return to school full time.

But even with all the apparent difficulties that this new normal in COVID-19 has brought, Julia has managed to find the light at the end of the tunnel.

“One major positive is that we can now more easily host guest speakers,” Julia said. “Before, it was always a challenge to coordinate dates and times; now, since it’s over Zoom, it is much easier.”

Despite this positive of being able to easily involve healthcare workers to be guest speakers for HOSA, they still have to face how they’re going to socially distance once the club is back to face-to-face meetings.

[It’s] a truly special place that you can’t find anywhere else in the school.”

— Jack McNamara

“We will have to make adjustments when we come to it,” Julia said. “If it is warm enough, we have considered outdoor options.”

Outdoor arrangements are a possibility for HOSA as the club moves forward, but this outside option is how the United Prayer club is choosing to meet currently—outside the cafeteria by the garden.

“Because we are outside, we can have our masks off which is nice,” junior Jack McNamara said, “but it’s not the same as being in room 103. It is a special place, and being away from [the room] takes away from the experience as a whole.”

While Jack misses pre-COVID-19 activities such as holding hands for prayer at the end of each meeting, he isn’t going to let that take away from why United Prayer is important to him.

“[The] best part of United Prayer is how connected we are and how we are always open to listen and talk about our day and life experiences,” Jack said. “[It’s] a truly special place that you can’t find anywhere else in the school.”

Jack, and other students that are a part of the club, have found positives in still getting to meet face-to-face versus the popularity of virtual meetings in clubs.

“We are open to how COVID-19 has affected us emotionally and what stress it has brought us,” Jack said. “With this group, many people talk about these things which can give them relief. In quarantine, they could talk to their parents, but talking to another peer your age adds a little more dimension.”

Unlike United Prayer, the Book Club is also choosing to host virtual meetings as opposed to meeting in English teacher Lisa Penninga’s room.

The members and leaders of Book Club are grateful for these virtual meetings; to Book Club leader and senior Olivia Cormaci, they are better than no meetings at all.

“For a while, we had no idea if we would even be able to hold Book Club at all,” Olivia said. “It’s been hard to figure out what time to do meetings since everyone has to do it from home, and [we are] alternating the days [so that] if you are at home all day you don’t have to do another long Zoom meeting after school is done. We want Book Club to be [a] time when everyone relaxes.”

And while Olivia understands that this is a very stressful time for students, between added school pressures and not being able to spend as much time with friends on top of COVID-19, she wants the participants in her club to stay optimistic.

“Like a lot of people,” Olivia said, “the biggest hardship [of COVID-19] would have to be not seeing friends as much [and] just [not] getting that social interaction that everyone was used to, but it’s about being able to move forward and [turn] the clouds into rainbows.”