A Dance with Delta

Plans for homecoming proceed despite pandemic risks


Photo: Sienna

Mr. Taylor Cao, director of student life, speaks to members of student government on the Wednesday morning before homecoming. The plans for the dance were very different than in previous years due to the threat of the Delta strain of the coronavirus.

How do you hold a school dance during a global pandemic? You don’t. At least, that’s what many other Memphis-area schools have decided.

But not St. George’s.

On Saturday, Sept. 18, St. George’s will host its first dance since September of 2019, a homecoming dance at the Lightman Tennis Center put on by student government.

Meanwhile, Covid cases in Shelby County have reached the same level they were at last December. According to the Shelby County Health Department, roughly 39% of all active cases in the county are people under the age of 18.

Mr. Taylor Cao, director of student life, stressed that this dance is voluntary for students and that the school wants to make all students and parents aware of the need for caution.

“We’ve gotta keep our students as safe as possible during the pandemic,” he said.

An email sent out Friday, Sept. 10, to St. George’s families from Upper School Director Pamela McCarthy clarified expectations regarding Covid protocols at the dance.

“Physical distancing, particularly indoors, is a mitigation strategy for the spread of COVID-19,” she wrote. “This strategy is the responsibility of each student; therefore, cooperation and respect for each other is expected.”

The dance is taking place outdoors. Student Government President Morgan Schrum said this was a strategic decision.

“The reason we put it outside is so that you don’t have to wear a mask,” she said.

Though the CDC “recommends that people who are not fully vaccinated wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact with other people,” the letter from Ms. McCarthy states that school will not be requiring masks.

Students were also recently given permission to bring dates from other schools.

“Originally it was, we’re not gonna bring outside dates because we don’t wanna be the school that’s a super-spreader,” Schrum said.

The school seems to be dancing on the line of allowing students freedom and attempting to follow CDC guidelines.

Anna Claire Lindow, sophomore student government representative, said she thinks that students will make an effort to stay safe since they know what’s best for themselves.

“We’ve always gotta be on our toes, especially with Covid,” she said.