Students figure out new ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day amid pandemic

Spirit days, Singing Valentines, and dates move to a virtual format


Illustration by Ari Harvey

COVID-19 has changed the way people are celebrating Valentine’s Day.

Gaby Jimenez, Opinions Editor

In a normal year, students would be preparing for what February is most known for: Valentine’s Day and the celebration of love and affection with those they care about.

This day has always been much anticipated, from Valentine grams that involve singing and dancing to spending time with loved ones. Unfortunately for this year, there is not much to look forward to on account of COVID-19.

Luckily, there are some alternatives for students to take part in so they won’t go through the holiday empty-handed.

In previous school years, Valentine’s Day has given the school opportunities for special events, many of which have been planned by the school’s leadership program. These events have gotten students to participate more in the holiday.

“In years past, we would do in-person Valentine’s candy grams,” sophomore leadership student Emily Willard said. “This would include singing and dancing to whoever the valentine was sent to.”

Leadership had to make modifications to this year’s Valentine’s Day activities in accordance with coronavirus safety guidelines.

“We will have to make some changes from years past due to Covid,” Willard said. “We still plan on being spirited by dressing up in the colors, either red or pink, as well as some other fun Valentine’s related games and activities.”

Another way Cal High promoted Valentine’s Day in the past was through events planned by the school library.

“In the past, we’ve done a few Valentine’s Day events. The most popular ones are ‘Blind Date with a Book’ and ‘Book Speed Dating’,” librarian Nikki Ogden said. “We also usually theme our maker space events around the event during that week.”

Since students are not able to go on campus yet this year, the library is unable to plan their events for the school.

“The best Valentine is a good book,” Ogden wrote in a newsletter with librarian Stacy Quick and media coordinator Lori Ann Mitchell. The newsletter includes romantic reading recommendations.

Valentine’s Day is also celebrated through Singing Valentines, organized by choir teacher Lori Willis.

“Singing Valentines are Valentine messages sent by one student to another in the form of a song,” Willis said. “Small groups of [chamber] singers go to classrooms and sing directly to students receiving the Valentine.”

In addition to spreading love and admiration in an entertaining manner, Singing Valentines have served as a fundraising opportunity for the choral department.

Being stuck in remote learning has changed the normal traditions of this activity to be manageable for Zoom classes.

“Since we are in remote learning now and all messages have to be delivered online, we will be sending Valentine videos to students’ classes free of charge,” Willis said. “This way students can enjoy the personal dedication while sharing the classroom entertainment experience with their peers.”

A common way for students to recognize Valentine’s Day is to spend time with their significant other, whether it be through buying roses or going out on a date. With relationships such as junior Nicholas Biondi’s, it won’t be the same this year.

“We might meet, with masks and social distancing of course, but I’m still not too sure,” Biondi said. “If there wasn’t a pandemic our Valentine’s Day would probably be a normal date, but unfortunately that’s not going to happen.”

Some students, such as sophomore Kimi Young, figured out how to spend time with their loved ones virtually.

“Usually it would be a nice little hangout at either his [Young’s boyfriend] or my house,” Young said. “This year we just planned a ‘Minecraft Bed Wars’ date night.”

For many students, such as junior Noelle Yamamoto, Valentine’s Day is an important day to show love for people in their family.

“We would get one another little gifts, usually specialty chocolate or cards,” Yamamoto said. “Since we all have very different schedules, Valentine’s Day acts as a holiday to do activities together as a family.”

Fortunately for Yamamoto, being stuck in quarantine has not entirely changed this holiday tradition.

“After covid, Valentine’s Day is basically still the same,” Yamamoto said. “Covid doesn’t really change this holiday for me since we only celebrated with my immediate family.”