Mrs. Barahona: Managing NHS During COVID-19

National Honors Society, or NHS, is an extremely prominent and prestigious program at Dana Hills High School (DHHS). Members are required to complete service hours in the community, at school, and at various cultural events. There are also mandatory monthly meetings, and members must maintain a 3.75 weighted GPA each and every semester. It is clearly a distinguished program to be a part of, and showcases the most thorough and hard-working of students. Only juniors and seniors are permitted to join. 

Math teacher Mrs. Barahona advises the NHS chapter here at DHHS. During COVID-19, obviously there will be restrictions regarding volunteering and receiving hours for any sort of activity including NHS. Therefore, some adjustments have been made with regards to hour requirements, including parameters for how long one must volunteer and under what conditions. 

Mrs. Barahona explains that the NHS used to require 4 school volunteer hours and 4 community volunteer hours. However, this year they combined it to 8 hours total, so those hours can come from both volunteering in the community and at school, or one of the two. Due to COVID-19, the cultural hour requirement was eliminated since “plays and events like that have not been occurring.”

The majority of hour opportunities have been more donation based, or virtual. For example, Mrs. Barahona explained that students can still “tutor at the homework center virtually,” rather than in person like it was prior to the pandemic. All of the monthly meetings have also been virtual this year, allowing students both in the hybrid and fully virtual programs to join and stay in the loop. 

Each of the volunteer events have their own rules and regulations surrounding COVID-19: “There is often a limited number of people allowed to ensure proper social distancing,” Mrs. Barahona states. Masks are enforced, and when the event requires contact, hand sanitization occurs frequently.

Additionally, some may believe that due to COVID-19 there are not as many participants in NHS, which is actually false. Contrary to popular belief, Mrs. Barahona explained that there are more people partaking in NHS this year than there have been in years prior.

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