Homecoming is back — Here’s how local schools are getting creative amid COVID

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (WJW) – After more than a year of canceled events, a high school tradition of celebrating the homecoming dance is returning to schools across the Cleveland area.

Since COVID-19 is still a concern, it’s forcing several districts to move the party outdoors.

“Our homecoming dance is actually this Saturday. Our plans are to have an outdoor dance in our stadium complex,” said James Hogue, principal of Independence High School. “We won’t be on the field, but we’ll be in the stadium complex dancing. We’re also going to allow kids to bring things to do on the turf if they’d like to.”

Wednesday, the Solon City School District announced that guests from outside the district will not be permitted at the homecoming dance in October. It’s a precaution to limit the amount of people in attendance, and masks will be required for the indoor event.

Parma City Schools plans to hold the dance indoors. Masks are recommended but not required, and students are allowed to bring a guest from another school district. School officials say they’re proceeding with the event and taking the same precautions they do holding football games at the high school.

Kenston Local Schools announced their homecoming dance will also be indoors over the course of two shifts next month. The event will split up lower and upper classmates in order to adhere to health and safety protocols. Masks are required.

“Look at it just like our offensive line is beating against somebody’s defensive line. You’re going to have some exposure there but take all the precautions we can,” said Charles Smialek, superintendent of the Parma City School District.

BrecksvilleBroadview Heights City School District, along with Twinsburg City School District, are planning an outdoor dance.

“By allowing it to be outdoors, it’s much like allowing a football game to happen,” said Superintendent Kathy Powers with Twinsburg Schools. “You can enjoy being in the presence of your friends without the restrictions you have to encounter when you’re inside a facility. For example, we won’t’ require students to have masks on.”

Hogue said the goal is to provide a fun yet safe environment for the long-awaited return of the traditional homecoming festivities.

“The kids are so excited to be back and have activities like a homecoming dance,” he said. “It’s really fun to see them and how excited and appreciative they are for every opportunity they get to celebrate being teenagers and going to high school.”

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