Student Council Faces New Challenges During Pandemic



By: Emanuel Barkagan (11th Grade)

Senior Mary Berkowitz always wanted to be president of Hebrew Academy high school’s student council, but she never expected it to be such an uphill battle thanks to the current pandemic.


“I just try to roll with the punches in the best way possible. I don’t want to get frustrated and I try my best not to,” Berkowitz said. “The best way to solve that issue is to find a solution and the only way to find a solution is to work together.”


The student council has always played a key role in planning school wide events, activities, and overall school spirit. But, when the pandemic struck in March, the school was closed along with the rest of the world making event planning nearly impossible. With the reopening in October, student council members resumed their plans for school spirit and activities, but have had to come to terms with the obstacles Covid-19 has created and the limitations that it puts on most activities.


“It is very difficult for us as a student council to plan all the normal events we would have in all the other years because of Corona,” said Shoshy Stein, 10th grade student representative.

“However, we are trying our best to accommodate the student body and do what we can to ensure that you guys have a fun year.”


Currently, Covid-19 cases in Miami-Dade and across the country are rising dramatically. These numbers require that current restrictions will have to stay in place until further notice.

This creates an entirely new struggle that past student council members have never faced before.


But instead of eliminating all student activities, student council members say they have had to use sharp thinking, determination, and creativity. Student council not only has to plan Covid-friendly events, but they must be prepared for last minute cancellations.


“The difficulty to plan events definitely takes a toll sometimes just because we want to try so hard to make sure that the students notice, that we do care, and we want everyone to have fun,” Berkowitz said.


Last week, the juniors and seniors were the first to participate in a lunch at the beach planned by the student council. The beach is an open air environment, making it Covid safe.


“I really enjoyed going to the beach. I feel like the student council is trying to make the year memorable for us,” said Sammy Lurie (11th). “The beach trip was fun because I got to speak with my friends while enjoying lunch in an open air environment.”


While activities that involve sports and those that take place indoors have been revoked for safety reasons, other activities, like lunch at the beach, and some Chanukah spirit week activities got the green light.


Spirit week typically involves large group activities, but student council compensated by creating a festive atmosphere within the school. They covered the entire school with Chanukah decorations, passed out donuts and other treats, and played music throughout the school. They also managed to create Covid-safe laser tag and backgammon tournaments.


"We are coming up with a lot of activities that demand much more creativity and preparation. Every idea has to be approved by admin and the admins above them, just in case we forgot a small detail. It’s like passing a new law,” said Student Activities Director Morah Twito who works closely with student council. “I think I was blessed with very creative members, baruch Hashem, and most importantly, very responsible and positive personalities,” Twito added, referring to the students on student council.


The student council is hoping that by the end of the year there will be more opportunity for regular activities and events.


“ We need things to be Covid-safe, but also want our classmates to have fun,” said Berkowitz. “The student council can’t wait for the year to continue because the future might be much brighter.”


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