Zac VanderLey– Staff Writer
On most Tuesday nights, were someone to stroll past the aerobics room in the Rec Center, they might catch a glimpse of thirty students dancing to their heart’s content. But, alas, those glimpses of spinning shalom will not be present on Tuesday nights, or at least not for the fall semester.
The Swing Dance Club has been forced to stop holding their weekly meetings due to COVID-19. In the midst of twirling, spinning, and guiding, there is no real way to maintain a distance of six feet.
“We are planning on trying to meet in the spring semester,” said Foster Popken, senior engineering student and club leader. “Or maybe if Dordt moves back to the green zone”
Dordt recently moved from the green alert level to the yellow after accumulating twenty- four positive COVID-19 cases and quarantining numerous other students.
Within this new status, Student Government is currently reviewing some club guidelines keeping contact tracing in mind. Students cannot be within six feet of people for more than 15 minutes, though 10 minutes is advised. Classroom protocol—with a 24-person limit per room—is in effect. Larger groups must be approved if they want to meet inside. Administered food must be pre-packaged and include hand sanitizer. Skin to skin contact is prohibited. Masks must be worn in all indoor public areas.
However, if Dordt returns to the green alert level, the rules may be altered. Clubs like Swing Dance that feature heavy physical contact may receive their opportunity to reconvene.
Regardless of alert level though, fall sports and intramurals will commence. Even COVID-19 outbreaks will not stop the Defender Way. Women’s volleyball, men’s football, cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, and golf have begun their seasons. Intramurals are also poised to begin, albeit only outside. Co-ed sand volleyball, co-ed outdoor soccer, and co-ed outdoor softball will all begin the week of September 14 with signups due on September 12.
The rationale for moving forward with outside intramurals is in accordance with CDC guidelines according to Dordt Football defensive coordinator and Intramural Director Lynn Nutt.
“It is a big part of student engagement and the overall moral of students.”
“People will be moving around,” he said. “If you’re within six feet for longer than fifteen minutes, then you’re not playing the sport right.”
Nutt, along with a group of other Dordt faculty, made the call to hold off on starting indoor intramurals for the Fall and Winter seasons. However, no decisions have been made for the spring.
When questioned on the importance of intramurals, Nutt responded, “It is a big part of student engagement and the overall morale of students. Two of my neighbors in town met through intramurals. In a town like this, or really anywhere, you can’t be a hermit and stay in your dorm all day. You have to get out, run around, and have fun.”
The continuation of at least some intramurals carries a growing sense of a return to normalcy, at least for those who play them. Remember, though, at 8:15 on Tuesday nights in the Aerobics room, there will be no dancing; there will be no laughing or perspiring faces; there will be no swing dance until further notice.
“I’m definitely sad we can’t be together,” said Popken, “since it is my senior year. I have a lot of anxiety over the survival of the club. It meant a lot in my journey because of the friendly environment… God has used [swing dance] to heal and create community… I want to start dancing again as soon as possible.”