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Zoom Cheer Competitions through COVID-19
Written by Clare Sohn | Published. 2021.01.11 18:20 | Count : 314

As the winter sports season has begun, many constraints have been made to follow the safety of the COVID-19 protocols. The winter sports at Seoul Foreign School consist of swimming, cheer, basketball, and wrestling and all sports have officially begun their season. Being a Varsity cheer member, I was very puzzled as to how our curriculum would continue as we were all required to keep social distancing which would cease KAIAC, the only competition held within international schools located in Korea for cheerleading. This is since cheer consists of a lot of stunting which requires cheerleaders holding each other up in the air which is considered not social distancing. 

[Picture of 2019-2020 Varsity Cheer team performing a routine. Photo courtesy of Anna Sohn]

At the beginning of the mid-November season, we were given a handbook of rules to follow for the season. It was quite a bummer reading it as we first realized that we would not be sideline cheering which, from my perspective, was the highlight of the season. Next, during practices, we would have to sanitize our hands when entering and leaving to ensure safety. The last point that came to surprise was that our KAIAC competitions would be virtual through Zoom. As competition time is always an excitement, it was disappointing to read that we would be competing with no crowd, no feeling of jitters, and rather performing live through a virtual call. Understanding the circumstances, I brushed it off. I tried to think positively about the upcoming season, but it was definitely hard to comprehend. As a sophomore this year, I was very excited to compete in my first competition in cheer as my freshman year KAIAC was also cancelled due to COVID-19. 

[A screenshot from the document of Winter Sports COVID-19 Protocols specifically in the section regarding virtual KAIAC. Photo Courtesy of Clare Sohn, Document Courtesy of Seoul Foreign School.]

From the frame of reference for the cheerleaders, last year's season was an unfortunate one. We had worked all season endlessly to create a perfect routine but being cancelled last minute. This displeased many, especially the seniors, as it would have been their last KAIAC competition ever. I was really looking forward to this season. However, due to the pandemic, many protocols for our practices have been made, as stated before. Regarding this year’s KAIAC, different schools will be randomly assigned times similar to real-life KAIAC, to perform their routine onscreen for all the judges to watch and grade. But as social distancing must be present, there will be no stunting this season which cuts down many of the highlights of cheer routines. In a COVID-free circumstance, a routine usually contains stunts, basket tosses, pyramid, cheer, jumps, and dance, but this year, only cheer, jumps, and dance will be incorporated. The new routine changes are already stressful enough. The team captains will have to create extravagant routines full of dances, and jumps to meet the level requirements to perform successfully to place well. 

Nonetheless, through practices, along with competition, masks are required to be worn at all times. This makes it even more difficult as cheer is a sport consisting of a lot of cardio. Cheerleaders are required to be constantly moving and making large motions in short amounts of time while still looking sharp and clean, which is hard to do with a barrier between the air we are breathing.

Despite all these difficulties, I am very interested to see how competitions will be held, specifically in cheer as there are endless amounts of concordats to be followed. I hope for the best this season as last year was quite unfortunate. Optimistically, I also wish the best to make up for our hard work last season. 2020-2021 KAIAC Cheerleading will be one to remember as it will be through virtual learnings go-to platform Zoom.






Clare Sohn
Grade 10
Seoul Foreign School

Clare Sohn  student_reporter@dherald.com

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