Mask Protocol for Halloween Dance Faces Difficulties

Alongside Abbotween, pumpkin carving, horror movie screenings, and other Halloween festivities, Andover held its annual Halloween Dance. A collaborative effort between both the Pine Knoll and Flagstaff clusters, the Halloween Dance was hosted on Saturday, October 29 and had cobwebs lining the walls, an inflatable spider hanging above the gym, and a DJ taking student song requests. The colorful crowd of basketball players, fairies, zombies, and various other costumed students congregated on the dance floor. Alongside their devil horns and cat ears, participating students were required to wear masks.

According to Flagstaff Cluster Co-President Kennedy Ndiaye ’22, the dance was initially scheduled to occur outdoors in a tent. However, the cold and rainy weather led administration to bring the dance indoors and into Borden Gym. With the event indoors, faculty asked that students wear masks for the duration of the dance. Teacher at the entrance handed out masks to students without them.

In partnership with the Flagstaff Cluster, Pine Knoll Cluster Co-President Chase Reynders ’22 worked as a part of the team to organize the event. He explained that the dance’s mask mandate was the result of positive Covid-19 cases on campus and close contact tracing. Along with Ndiaye, Reynders stated that it wasn’t clear who made masking mandatory as it wasn’t decided by Pine Knoll and Flagstaff Cluster Councils.

“Masks were required because of some positive Covid cases and close contacts. We decided to be indoors because of the cold and the rain. I’m not sure who made the final call,” said Reynders.

According to Mia Abou-Ezzi ’25, many students, however, did not follow safety protocols and remained unmasked even as the DJ and other faculty members stopped the music to remind students to keep masks on. Abou-Ezzi expressed her lack of surprise, as she expected that students would not wear masks.

“There [were] a lot of [masks] down. And then the [DJ] had to keep on reminding us to pull [them] up… I was kind of expecting it because it was a hot room and there was a lot of kids in there and everyone was dancing and screaming and singing, so I think it kind of makes sense, but I think… people should have been wearing masks, because it was so many people in this small room,” said Abou-Ezzi.

Curiosities still arise as to whether future dances and large events this year will be held indoors, as the mask mandate proved unsuccessful during the Halloween Dance. According to Ndiaye, it is unclear whether the Covid-19 protocol for the Halloween Dance will be the same for future dances this term and this year.