Students lament modified Homecoming schedule

COVID-19 precautions limit some traditional activities for Oct. 15-16 event

By SERENA MOSLEY

Homecoming, one of the most festive fall events for college students, provides a time for those at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to take as well as show pride in their chosen school. It’s a relatively rare time when students are able to engage in activities with off-campus students and alumni.

Although students are back on campus this fall after months of virtual learning, the rise in COVID-19 cases because of surges from its delta variant has led to a modified Homecoming event schedule. 

This, the first Homecoming since 2019 before the pandemic took hold, will last only two days, Oct. 15 and 16. To see what students thought about this year’s events, The Yellow Jacket talked with Keyira Curtis, a sophomore on the cheer team, and Kiya Thompson, a WVSU junior who will be crowned Miss State at Homecoming. 

Yellow Jacket: What events were you looking forward to that are not being held this year due to the pandemic?

Curtis: I was looking forward to more campus activities and involvement moreso than anything. All of the organizations were going to be able to show what they have been working on such as Homecoming Court, Greek life and step shows.

Thompson: I was really looking forward to the fashion and talent show.

Yellow Jacket: Do you feel like your HBCU experience is hindered because of the lack of student activities for homecoming? 

Keyira Curtis: Yes, because homecoming is something that all HBCU students look forward to. Homecoming is something that is celebrated every year — even alumni look forward to it. I feel like an HBCU without Homecoming is like taking away Soul Food Wednesday. It’s something you value at a HBCU.

Yellow Jacket: Would you rather risk getting COVID to be able to experience Homecoming or would you keep it the way it is? 

Curtis: I wouldn’t want to risk getting COVID for Homecoming, but I do feel like there could be safety precautions put in place for these events. Just like how we attend in-person schooling and we are able to (take precautions).” 

Yellow Jacket: Do you think that the homecoming events set in place are enough to keep students from engaging in non-school approved events? 

Curtis: No, the events for Homecoming are not going to be enough to keep the students from engaging in non-school sanctioned activities. Students are going to go out and party regardless. If students continue to go to parties during Homecoming it could bring more COVID cases on campus. That would put other students and faculty in danger of COVID. When more school events could be monitored to ensure that masks stay on so there will be less COVID cases.

Kiya Thompson: I do think a modified Homecoming schedule is better than nothing. I still don’t know for sure if it will keep the students here at WVSU engaged.

Yellow Jacket: Do you feel it is unfair that other schools get to have their full schedule of Homecoming events and WVSU does not? 

Curtis: “I do feel that other schools have the same mindset that I have when it comes to homecoming; they already know students will engage in parties. I would think that they are trying to take the right safety precautions to make sure that the students are fulfilled with Homecoming while still keeping them safe to prevent an increase in COVID cases.

Thompson: No, I feel like WVSU is doing what is best for the students and faculty here.

Yellow Jacket: Are you still looking forward to being crowned Miss State at Homecoming? 

Thompson: I am! It is a little different but I am still blessed to be this year’s Miss State.

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About Shannon Wells

Shannon O. Wells is the new advisor for the Yellow Jacket and adjunct instructor for the COMM 307-Writing for the Media class. Shannon comes to WVSU after a long and diverse career in journalism, communications, and public relations in West Virginia, Virginia, and Oregon.
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