With COVID-19 still on the rise, a multitude of organizations on and off campus have struggled with planning and how to make events happen.
The Center for Disease Control has listed many guidelines for event planners to help keep their events safe. Some of the suggestions made are to limit attendance and capacity at events to allow social distancing, use multiple entrances and exits to discourage crowds and prioritize outdoor events.
For events on Montevallo’s campus, the administration has suggested online meetings as much as possible and in-person events must follow social distancing guidelines. When events are in-person, students at Montevallo must submit their social distancing plan for meetings and events to the Director of Student Life, Jenny Bell, two weeks prior to the event date.
Nowadays, most events for Montevallo students are online. This year has looked different for Greek organizations, sports teams and other organizations. For Greek life, recruitment was moved online, something new for all students. SGA and UPC events have also taken an online format, utilizing Zoom as much as possible.
For sports teams, the Gulf South Conference has cancelled athletic competition and off-campus recruiting has been suspended until normal activities may resume. Practice for teams in the Gulf South Conference have also been limited.
Orientation for incoming students was also adjusted for safety purposes. This year there was a multitude of online events to join. When there were events in-person such as a movie night and live music, social distancing protocols were required and followed.
For the town of Montevallo, ValloCycle is a city-wide bike share that was developed to promote a healthier lifestyle through biking. Through ValloCycle, citizens of Montevallo can rent bikes and even go on monthly bike rides put on by ValloCycle.
COVID-19 has made putting on events harder for ValloCycle. Restrictions on groups and mask regulations, can cause these events to be cancelled. Even ongoing fears of the pandemic have prevented ValloCycle from having high participation rates.
A recent Halloween themed bike ride only had around eight participants.
Another effect of COVID-19 is the toll on people’s mental health. For some, it can be stressful and hard to handle being separated from others. COVID-19 can lead to stressors causing fear and anxiety about the potential threat of the virus.
Throughout the pandemic, some have experienced higher stress levels and the hardships of dealing with isolation. Even through times of increased social distancing, people can still maintain connections and relationships.
For those struggling with isolation, the CDC recommends checking in on others through phone and video calls, which can help those around you feel connected and less lonely or isolated.
Another thing the CDC recommends to reduce the stress of life in a pandemic is to stay updated on the facts. Online research and fact-checking is believed to help people understand what is happening during these times. Understanding the dangers and risk of COVID-19 can make things less stressful.
It is important for people to take care of their mental health in unknown times such as now. Here at the University of Montevallo, students are offered individual counseling at no cost to help manage the stresses of life.
Even though clubs and organizations are resorting to online options, organizations are discovering new ways to stay connected. Through Zoom calls, organizations can continue to meet and hold events.
Aubrie Chastain is a writer for The Alabamian. She is a first-year political science major with plans to attend law school. She enjoys a good book, coffee and hikes.