We called it 'the lost year.' Many of the things that normally happen every year were cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic. There was no junior-senior prom, no traditional graduation ceremony for the class of 2020, no July 4th parade, no Apple Festival.
Now, as more people are getting vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, as some of the restrictions that were imposed to stop its spread are being reduced, there is reason to believe that life can possibly return to 'normal' later this year.
The city of Lincolnton is already making plans for an Independence Day parade and fireworks, and the School Board heard at its work session Tuesday evening that there will be junior-senior proms and traditional graduation ceremonies. For the class of 2020, who were promised a traditional ceremony in December that never happened because the pandemic was at its worst, a separate traditional graduation will also be held in addition to the one for the class of 2021. Both will be held outdoors in the high school stadiums.
There will also be junior-senior proms. Because the pandemic isn't over--just not as bad as it was--allowances will have to be made to stay in step with the Governor's executive orders. While they aren't required to have them at the school, it appears likely that will be the case. Two principals, the Tuesday School Board session heard, have already been making arrangements for big tents since the proms may be held outdoors in the stadiums. They will have to be held before May 1st the board was told.
The board also heard a report on the successful effort to allow fans to see their teams in action while restrictions were most severe. The South Fork Conference partnered with Chris Ritchie to create the South Fork Network and showed volleyball and basketball games online. The volleyball matches were money losers for the schools. It cost $300 for each live-stream telecast; fans could buy access for $10. Only East Lincoln, among Lincoln County schools, made money on volleyball--they cleared $36. West Lincoln lost $876 and Lincolnton High lost $740. For basketball, the live-stream effort was profitable for all the schools. Of course, the athletic programs lost most of their usual income from program ad sales, but the live-stream did allow some to see games they couldn't attend because of the limit on numbers imposed by the Governor's orders.
The new order announced last week will allow more fans to see events in person. Football games this week will be able to have up to 30% of the stadium capacity. For the East Lincoln at Lincolnton game, that means they can sell up to 1500 tickets. For the North Lincoln game vs West Mecklenburg, the limit will the 851. For the West Lincoln at Maiden game,
1200 will be the limit.
The board also heard a report on a weekend clinic Atrium Health held to vaccinate teachers, child care workers, etc. Of the 1915 people vaccinated, 451 were associated with Lincoln County Schools. 96 others involved in education got their first shot. 39% of those attending the clinic were Lincoln County residents. School administrators said some teachers and other Lincoln County Schools employees had already got vaccinated elsewhere including a clinic for teachers at CaroMont Regional Medical Center in Gastonia last week. For those who got their first shot at the clinic over the weekend, another clinic for second shots will be held March 19th-20th.