Club meetings through a computer screen

How extracurricular activities are operating with the hybrid schedule at KHS this year.

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Chris Montgomery, Unsplash.com

Virtual meetings have become the new norm as extracurricular activities across the nation continue to be active-albeit through a computer screen.

Although Kinnelon High School has opened up its doors to hybrid learning, the reopening of after school programs is still halted. Students that once said, “I’ll see you after class in the gymnasium,” are now saying, “I’ll see you when I log on!”

What once was a busy and bustling time after school, is now pin-drop silence after the bell rings at 2:23. Students are instructed to go straight home so the deep cleaning process can occur, and can no longer stick around after school for clubs like DECA or Academic Decathlon.

Clubs are not able to meet in person or hold traditional activities such as field trips as in previous years. However, this is not stopping anyone; considering that for the most part, classes are running smoothly while being held online, clubs have also started having virtual meetings. Teachers and club officers have sent out codes for interested students to join the clubs, along with links for recurring members to join their weekly online meetings. 

As a result of the current situation, this year’s club will be more independent and project-based.”

— John Manning

The majority of clubs are up and running or are in the process of being restarted. “I think that in some ways it’s especially difficult to run clubs right now since the [number] of big group events in the world today [is] limited,” says junior Katie Nieto. “But on the flip side, Zoom has made it even easier to hold meetings.”  Virtual meetings allow students to join from the comforts of their homes, while still getting the same type of learning experience. 

However, the experience is undeniably different. “It’s a lot different and a bit more annoying to participate in,” says sophomore Louie Waibel. “You’re usually with your friends and now you aren’t, which is really sad because that’s a huge part of being in a club. It’s also taken away a lot of fun aspects of being in a club.” 

Although it is not exactly the same as what it was in the past years, it is allowing students to partake in school-related activities, outside of school, and gives them a chance to find their interests. “We plan on doing many of our same plans as last year in addition to more virtual meetings to check on each other in these isolating times,” says senior Emma Macmanus, leader of the Mental Health and Wellness Club at KHS. “Last year we held various de-stressing events that we hope to do again as long as we can safely hold them.”

Additionally, Science Research Club advisor and science teacher John Manning took into account the changing times. “As a result of the current situation, this year’s club will be more independent and project-based. There will be much less direct social interaction and collaboration when it comes to club activities,” says Manning. “But as a trade-off, the club doesn’t have to follow as strict of a schedule as it used to, so students are free to participate on their own time.”