Keep Our Clubs

Extracurricular activities are important, and requiring a faculty advisor to be present at every club meeting is unnecessary and and only harms the sense of community at Stuyvesant.

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After a long day filled with tedious morning commutes, stressful tests, and exhaustive classwork, many Stuyvesant students look forward to one thing in particular: extracurricular activities. Clubs are an important aspect of school, regardless of what students are passionate about. Since students don’t have total control over their schedules and courses, clubs give them a chance to participate in activities they enjoy and create close communities with others who share similar interests. After the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, the administration banned all in-person after school activities, with the exception of clubs that are able to obtain a faculty advisor for every meeting. However, with the Omicron resurgence quieting down and Stuyvesant attendance rates back up to 90 percent, the decision seems performative and only harms the sense of community at Stuyvesant.

As COVID-19 is still a prominent issue, it is understandable that school policy is modified accordingly. However, for many clubs, it is difficult to schedule a meeting that aligns with their faculty advisor’s schedule due to the adult’s other responsibilities. As a result, numerous clubs have made the shift to Zoom meetings, which do not compare to in-person meetings in terms of socialization and activities. Club involvement experienced new lows during the last school year, with Zoom meetings providing little engagement and attendance numbers dropping significantly. In the current absence of in-person meetings, even when they are possible, it is extremely difficult for clubs that did not get a chance to establish themselves before remote learning to function and continue to do so even after the pandemic is no longer a concern.

The primary motive for the decision to move clubs online was the concern over how club gatherings may lead to a rise in COVID-19 cases among students. However, depriving students of their in-person extracurricular time is unlikely to have a significant impact on the COVID-19 situation. The way club meetings are conducted is not so different from how we are situated in classrooms, as the meetings maintain social distancing rules that apply to a 34-student classroom. In comparison to students spending the morning on a crowded train and attending 10 periods with dozens of different classmates, clubs have a miniscule impact on the spread of COVID-19. Omicron cases are down more than 80 percent since their peak in early January, signaling that now is the perfect time to bring in-person clubs back to Stuyvesant.

Even acknowledging the lack of likelihood of spreading COVID-19 in a club in comparison to a class, requiring an advisor in the room implies that the staff does not trust the student body to keep our masks on and practice social distancing. Students are also concerned about contracting and spreading the virus and understand the importance of such protocols. We can be trusted to host or attend club gatherings and spend time with our peers without a faculty advisor supervising us, all while still meeting the COVID-19 regulations.

As we enter the second semester, it is crucial that we bring back after school activities. With the oncoming stress of second semester, extracurricular activities will be some of the few aspects of school life that motivate students and keep their mental health in check. Because of quarantine, the student body has already missed out on years of in-person high school experiences. Though the definition of normal has changed significantly during that time, this step is our opportunity to revive the spirit in the hallways after school again.