Post-Homecoming Pandemonium Sweeps SHS


Maggie Kennedy

Students at Stafford High School began disappearing in droves following the 2022 Stafford High School Homecoming dance. The dance may have been an influenza super-spreader event that led to the absences of over 1,000 students.

Unfortunately, circumstance has likely led to Stafford High School’s recent Homecoming Dance becoming a super-spreader event for the influenza virus.

With 1,289 tickets sold, more than 1,200 students were corralled into the SHS cafeteria on the night of October 15. The cafeteria, roughly the size of a football field, created the perfect environment for the seasonal virus to take hold of the student body.

The effects of this development have rippled throughout the school. Ian Smith, a junior on the varsity football team, reported that SHS is almost guaranteed to be unable to participate in their away game at Massaponax on Friday, October 21. “We’re screwed,” Smith explained exasperatedly. “But, it’s Massaponax’s senior night so they probably won’t forfeit – they’ll probably try to reschedule it,” Smith continued. This is not isolated to football, as SHS canceled all after-school conditioning on Thursday, October 20.

With some students’ conditions becoming more serious, many have turned to urgent care for assistance. Kaylee Kennedy, senior, drove to the NextCare Urgent Care center on White Oak Road, only to be subject to a two-hour wait. The doctor immediately asked whether Kennedy had gone to Homecoming that weekend. After responding affirmatively, the doctor responded “This is the worst I’ve ever seen,” claiming to have seen 500 students showing up to the facility. This has been supported by attendance figures from SHS, which confirm that roughly 850 students were absent due to illness on Thursday, October 20. According to multiple students, Influenza is the common diagnosis.

Principal Allen Hicks has sent an email to parents and students, reaffirming that the outbreak wouldn’t cause SHS to be shut down. Instead, new mitigation efforts will begin to prevent further spread.

After originally forfeiting the game against Massaponax on Oct. 24, the football game was rescheduled again to Tuesday, November 1.