Written by Ellie Shelton and Emma Jones.
Dean of Students Zach Neal announced in an email to the student body on March 31 that group organizations would be allowed to gather without getting special permissions from the Student Life office.
Club activities directors were told to follow the previously existing process of approval for club meetings and functions, but were encouraged to continue to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines regarding distancing and masks.
“It’s no longer necessary to meet with me for COVID-19 specific guidelines, but we ask that [directors] would go through the process of filling out and submitting an activities sheet,” Neal said. “We also ask students that, when possible, to not have more than four people in a vehicle travelling to functions because it reduces risk of exposure and makes it easier to contact trace if someone did happen to test positive [for COVID-19].”
After spring break, Student Life informed social club activities directors that functions would be approved to take place off campus, eliminating the COVID-19 guidelines that had been in place for the fall semester that restricted clubs to meeting on campus only. However, Club Week, functions, meetings and Spring Sing practices have been allowed during the spring semester.
Each club’s activities directors were in charge of learning the guidelines and planning functions accordingly. Sophomore Paul Stone is one of the activities directors for men’s social club Gamma Sigma Phi. Stone said that after spring break, activities directors were notified that the ban on off-campus functions had been lifted.
“Planning is tougher, and there are more procedures we have to follow than before,” Stone said. “One of those procedures [was] meeting with the deans and laying out the plans for how we will social distance at functions. We also didn’t know until after spring break if we could have functions off campus, so being flexible and patient is really important.”
Junior Anna Johnston is one of the activities directors for women’s social club Ju Go Ju.
“[Planning functions] is definitely a lot harder because you have to think of every little detail,” Johnston said. “For instance, instead of just saying, ‘We are going to have this food,’ you have to figure out how and who is going to serve it, while making sure that a ton of people don’t touch the same thing.”
Johnston said that she is thankful for the work the deans have put in to make functions happen because without them, it would not be possible.