The students in the Class of 2021 have had a lot taken away from them in the past 12 months.
Quarantine measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic led to cancellation of nearly all of the extracurricular activities in the final third of their junior years, and more than half of their senior years. There also was an awful lot of pandemic-forced isolation, which isn’t good for the mental health of teenagers.
So we were happy for the Class of 2021, and their schoolmates, after announcements on consecutive Fridays earlier this month.
The first came on March 12, when the Racine Founders Rotary Club, which has hosted Rotary Post Prom for Racine area high schools since 1953, announced that Post Prom 2021, with the theme “An Enchanted Evening,” is planned as a safe, outdoor event from 6 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, May 15, at the Racine County Fairgrounds in Yorkville, not its usual Festival Hall location in Downtown Racine. Cross your fingers for clear skies, folks.
The second announcement came this past Friday, when the City of Racine announced a loosening of its Safer Racine restrictions, including the allowing of some spectators at school sporting events.
Mass gatherings that require city approval, including weddings and concerts, are again allowed with a limit of 75% of total building capacity, so long as no more than 200 people gather.
School sports and other “high-risk recreational activities” are again allowed in the city, although audiences are limited to “two spectators per player, coach, or officiating personnel,” with the 75% or 200-person limit still in place.
That’s certainly better than nothing when it comes to some semblance of normalcy for the young people in the Class of 2021. Especially when it comes to the second announcement.
Because an unusual high school football season is set to kick off on Friday night. Case, Horlick and Park are planning to play a short spring season, including games against other Wisconsin schools which opted out of fall football.
The brand-new football field at the SC Johnson Community Sports Complex at Pritchard Park, ready since the fall, is still waiting for its inaugural game. As is a new artificial surface on the football field at Horlick Field.
We’re hoping that the coming days bring announcements of games scheduled for the new complex, Horlick Field or Hammes Field, which sits adjacent to Case High School.
Two spectators per player, coach or official — making noise on their own — will certainly be better than the spectator-less games we’ve watched on TV in the past year.
A Friday-night football game in March or April, instead of September or October, is better than no football game at all.