Covid creates challenges for senior retreats

Events postponed during first semester are rescheduled


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Seniors who attended the retreat in February gather before returning to campus.

Various retreats this year have been postponed due to Covid-19, with the senior retreats rescheduled to second semester, which has created scheduling challenges. 

Assistant campus minister Mrs. Sara Bozzelli-Levine said that she has worked with others to help make these adjustments. In previous years, larger groups of seniors would travel to the retreat center in Tipton County and be together during the retreat. Now, retreat organizers are splitting up the number of students allowed to go to the retreat at one time. 

“In December and November, we had to cancel those retreats, but we rescheduled them,” Bozzelli-Levine said. 

 Attending a senior retreat is strongly encouraged but not required. There are events at each retreat to help seniors reinforce their faith and to provide a time away from the day-to-day life of being at school. 

As it has been in previous years, there have been many dates that the seniors could choose. This year, seven retreat dates were offered. The final retreat for this school year is scheduled for April 13 through April 16. 

More changes also include school staff as leaders instead of college students, a smaller number of people in one room, the use of social distancing, a mask wearing requirement and food options. Campus ministry and retreat staff have taken these precautions to ensure safety for both students and leaders. By abiding by these precautions, everyone is able to have a safe retreat while keeping the event as normal as possible. 

“Because of Covid, we have to have (fewer) students so we can keep safe distancing. So we have smaller groups and smaller crowds. We don’t take any more than 40. In the past we have taken 57 or 58, so it’s considerably smaller,” Bozzelli-Levine said. 

We don’t take any more than 40.

— Campus minister Mrs. Sara Bozzelli-Levine

Retreats are often stated as pivotal moments for the seniors who attend. They provide an opportunity for seniors to reflect on their time so far as a high school student and to build new relationships with those with whom they may have been close. Bozzelli-Levine said she wanted to preserve this important moment but remain cautious around Covid-19. She describes the retreats as not being “radically different,” but not entirely the same this year. 

Campus ministry has opted to postpone these retreats, rather than cancel them. “We want to make sure that every senior has the option of a senior retreat,” Bozzellio-Levine said.  

While these retreats have been affected by Covid-19 and changes have been made, seniors are still encouraged to attend because of the new relationships and opportunities to learn. She said,“ If you get to know anybody, everybody’s remarkable. So many times I think seniors say, ‘I’ve been going to school with these people for three years, and I never even knew them.’ You can’t know anything about anybody until you do.”