Surrounding Districts’ Homecoming Plans

After+distribution+of+large+glow+batons%2C+confetti+bursts+from+the+stage+and+over+the+crowd.

Ella Ilg

After distribution of large glow batons, confetti bursts from the stage and over the crowd.

By Emily Chin, Managing Editor

As Niles West prepares for a different homecoming style due to COVID, other districts and schools in the surrounding areas have had to make similar decisions to prioritize the health of their students. However, similar circumstances have not led to uniform results across all schools.

One consistent change that schools have implemented is that each homecoming event will only be available for students attending their school. Niles West, as it turns out, stands as an outlier being the only school within the CSL Conference to hold their homecoming event on a Friday night. Niles North, Evanston Township, Maine West and Glenbrook South held their homecomings on Saturday, Sept. 25, while New Trier and Maine South will be on Saturday, Oct. 2 and Maine East on Saturday, Oct. 23.

Most of the schools will be hosting their events outdoors on school grounds. New Trier is the only school scheduled to hold its homecoming indoors.

New Trier will have two different time slots to attend: one from 7-8:30 p.m. and the other from 8:45-10:15 pm. As stated in a flyer sent to New Trier students, “Students may only attend the timeslot they select. Once a purchase is complete, changes cannot be guaranteed.” Although there are two separate groups, senior Piper Dooley is just excited homecoming is taking place.

“I’m glad we are having it, NT is doing it in two batches, so when you buy your tickets you have to select one of two time slots, so it’s more split up. Obviously, I’m biased as a senior, but I’m just glad we get to have it at all,” Dooley said. “I’m excited to dress up this year too, I don’t know how it is at other schools, but for NT, upperclassmen do costumes and don’t wear dresses/suits. So that’s fun because I didn’t get it last year. We also have to wear masks obviously, but other than that I think it’s mostly the same.”

At GBS, the current plan is to host homecoming outdoors, but in the event weather permits, “the dance will be moved to the fieldhouse with indoor COVID protocols enforced, including masks and limited capacity…Should we need to move indoors, participants would be split into two separate time slots,” which holds a similar protocol to what New Trier’s homecoming looks like. Homecoming for GBS is not just a one day excursion, it included a week of activities, including themed dress up days, a movie night on Thursday, a Pep Rally Friday, and their Homecoming Parade on Saturday.

In District 207, Maine East, Maine South and Maine West are all holding similar suits to what their homecoming entails. All will have an outdoor venue, with no capacity or time slot limitations and restrictions to only students attending their school. Representatives at both Maine South and Maine West wrote of how COVID-19 played a role in their decision to hold a homecoming.

“We have a high percentage of our students who are vaccinated, but the event would go on no matter what. We focus on consistent mask wearing and created an outdoor event to give students a fun, safe experience,” said Mike Edwards, the associate principal of student experiences at Maine South.

The associate principal of student experiences at Maine West, John Aldworth,┬ásaid, “Similar to South, a high percentage of our students are vaccinated, but we are holding the large dance outside because it is safer than a dance indoors. Students will need to mask when indoors.”

The COVID restrictions don’t seem to bother some students like Maine South senior Grace Beckman. “Homecoming this year is going to have a different feel because half the dance is going to be in a tent outside and students from other schools aren’t allowed. I’m glad Maine South is having a homecoming, but it is definitely going to be non-traditional due to the new restrictions,” Beckman said.