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B-UHS moves Homecoming

The Inter-Mountain photo by Amanda Hayes From left, B-UHS Student Council member Hank Phillips and advisor Michael Wilson address the Upshur County Board of Education this week about Homecoming plans.

BUCKHANNON – Buckhannon-Upshur High School has moved its Homecoming Week to Oct. 19-24 after the late start to school.

Student council advisor Michael Wilson and student Hank Phillips updated the Upshur County Board of Education on COVID-19 plans and asked for direction on how to proceed.

The date was changed from next week to October to allow more time to plan. School began Sept. 8.

Originally, Phillips attended the Sept. 3 Buckhannon City Council meeting to request approval of the B-UHS Homecoming Parade route and pep rally in Jawbone with social distancing modifications.

At that meeting, council members discussed getting approval from the Upshur County Board of Education before they make a decision. Since that meeting, Wilson said the date for Homecoming had been moved to October. That puts the Homecoming game against Bridgeport Senior High School on Friday, Oct. 23.

“We have made modifications of what we thought we would like to do for the parade itself,” he said. “it’s not going to be done like it has in the past. I have talked to Quinten [Oldaker] about the possibility of having the parade be livestreamed so it would be visible to those who want to see it.”

Phillips discussed some of the changes with the parade that the student council have now planned for Wednesday, Oct. 21.

“We, the student council, have already discussed several areas of the plan, but still need your approval and guidance on keeping our students and community safe,” he said.

Plans so far include limiting student and community participation. The Buckhannon-Upshur High School Marching Band is already not allowed to participate due to state guidelines at this time.

The parade participants would be limited to the Homecoming Court, high school sports teams and two people from each class year carrying a banner.

“This rules out several of our parade participants, but still keeps things to a safe minimum while still enjoying the tradition,” he said.

The Homecoming Court members could ride in their own vehicles and sports teams could walk together with masks.

“Anyone attending parade route to watch would be required to wear a mask and maintain 6-feet apartment,” Phillips said. “Along the parade route, we could have signage posted reminding people to maintain 6 feet distance. The pep rally at Jawbone needs to be practiced separately.”

Coronation will also be held on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at B-UHS but will be for parents and the participating students.

The student body will not be present but the event will be live streamed.

“I have talked with the band and they are restricting who would be there and they are also restricting with the choir,” he said.

In answer to a question from board vice president Katie Loudin, Wilson said the student council would follow any additional restrictions set forth by the board and the state.

Board president Dr. Tammy Samples said she spoke with Mayor Robbie Skinner who mentioned he was not sure about getting a permit from state for parade route.

Board member Kristie Wilkerson said another person from the city had reached out to her with their concerns about the crowds and social distancing.

Wilson said he heard from a member of council member they were looking at the 25-person rule but that does not apply outdoors.

“We will do exactly what the board says to do,” he said. “This has come from the kids.”

Samples said, “We have to make sure we are meeting every single guideline.”

Wilson described how he worked with the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department, the state health department and the governor’s office to hold two different events for graduation.

Phillips said, “As students we also respect what is happening too. It’s in our best interest to comply with everything.”

Samples said, “I don’t know if you have ever come to us for approval. Usually, these are school-level decisions.”

The board discussed making a decision at their Sept. 22 board of education meeting set for 6 p.m. at Hodgesville Elementary after getting input from the health department.

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