High school has been extremely difficult for students because of Covid-19. For 2021 seniors, it is even tougher. Their last year of high school has been unprecedented. Things have been flipped upside down. School dances and many other events have been canceled. In hard times, students need friends and extracurricular activities to unite them as a community. Yet, for some, it has almost become business as usual.
While all of us are taking precautions and doing our best to stay six feet apart, there have been some exceptions. Sports teams are still competing with other schools. Football, basketball, wrestling and cheerleading are continuing almost like normal. Why? All of these sports have physical contact between teammates and their rivals. They do not keep the social distancing precautions and some do not wear masks while engaged in such activities.
The Utah High School Activities Association, UHSAA, is making sure that these sporting events continue. If they deem these activities safe, when clearly safety rules can’t be enforced, then what defines the boundaries? If these examples are flagrantly ignoring safety guidelines, isn’t this setting a precedent for other activities? If not, why are certain activities sanctioned and others unsafe?
Besides sports, the UHSSA oversees choir and theatre competitions as well. The particular choir in question is the Chamber Choir. Each year this choir competes in a regional competition. With the upcoming event in March, the UHSSA announced it must be virtual/online. Why? If sports are permissible live, isn’t Chamber Choir? The top Chamber Choirs competing have fewer students than the other choirs and their competitions are live. In addition, they are substantially safer. They wear masks at all times, and social distancing between students is enforced easily without affecting the competition. Yet, the competition is going to be virtual.
Cheerleaders can jump and tumble on each other and wrestlers can continue their ferocious body contact, but the Chamber Choir is too dangerous? This is illogical unless it’s about revenue. Everyone knows that high school sports are more lucrative than Chamber Choir. Is this about safety or money?
If UHSSA will not enforce the virtual rules for all activities, it is not fair to scapegoat Chamber Choir as the poster child saying, “See, we are keeping the rules. We are making things safe for students and their families!” That’s a lie. Chamber Choir deserves the same treatment as sports, especially when the risk for infection of COVID-19 is so much lower. All students should be able to receive the unity and joy inherent in a competition performed in front of and for a live audience.
To bring awareness, one Skyridge High School student, Raine Martinez, has started a petition against the discrimination performing arts activities are receiving. She believes that her competition deserves to be live. Therefore, she has started a petition to create a united front hoping the seniors in Chamber Choir can enjoy the rewards for which they have worked so hard.
Go to this link to sign: #StudentSingersTakeAStand.
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