HOSA State Competition: How does it look this year?

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Every year, members of the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) Club around Utah have the opportunity to compete at the HOSA State competition where they get to travel to Layton for two days. This year, however, the competition looks different. COVID-19 has once again changed the plans and limited the experience for the members.

 

Mrs. Jenkins, the main HOSA advisor this year, explained what the HOSA State competition is. “The HOSA competition is an opportunity for students to zone in on what they are wanting to study in the future or what they have been studying now,” Mrs. Jenkins continues saying that the HOSA members “compete with other students to test their knowledge and try to be the best of the state.” 

 

Members are able to compete in several different categories. Some categories have tests individuals have to take, while others have scenarios they have to perform. This year, however, the competition is going virtual. It’s a big change, and there are going to be a lot of differences. “I think they’ve really adapted and been able to make do,” said Mrs. Jenkins. 

 

This year, the competition will be taking place at the school and at members’ homes. “For the test portion, it will be here at the school,” said Mrs. Jenkins. “For the performing piece, they can either do it here at the school with my help to guide them on how to submit it, or they can do it on their own with their group.”

 

Usually, the HOSA competition lasts two days, but this year, the competition will be over the span of two weeks. “It will be a total of two weeks for the actual competition, and then the following week after those two weeks it will be the final ceremonies. The first week is for the test portion, which is usually your round 1, and then the second week is for round 2 for certain things and for the performing ones,” said Mrs. Jenkins. 

 

Members competing in this year’s competition are saddened over the fact that it’s gone virtual, but they’re still happy that the competition itself is still happening. “I think that it will still be a really good experience even though it is virtual, but I am sad that it has changed,” said Tazia McAffee, the president of HOSA at Copper Hills. Elle Neto, one of this year’s HOSA members, also said, “Honestly, it’s kind of disappointing that the competition will be virtual this year, but it was expected, and I’m still grateful we get to have one.”

 

Even with this disappointment, the members understand why the competition is going virtual. “I think it’s for the better, especially with COVID and everything. As a medical club, we don’t want to have any part in helping the cases rise,” said McAffee. 

 

With the competition going virtual, there may be some worry that judges won’t be able to judge fairly or accurately, but the HOSA council and members aren’t too worried about that. “Fairly, yes, because they have a rubric that they have to go along with, and it will be recorded so they can go back and watch. Accurately, I’m not exactly sure, especially if it’s a very tedious one,” said Mrs. Jenkins. 

 

The competition transitioning from in-person to virtual comes with several pros and cons. Neto mentioned one of the pros. “We’ll all be more comfortable and in a place we’re all familiar with. We’re kind of guaranteed to be around our friends this time,” said Neto. Mrs. Jenkins mentioned another pro to this situation as well. “I think it will make the HOSA community in our school a lot tighter,” she continued, “and it will allow students to compete in more events because there’s really no time restrictions.”

 

Along with those pros, there are also several cons. Mrs. Jenkins mentioned some of the cons. “It was a really amazing opportunity for students to go and meet with other students from other schools and get that connection. It made students get out of their bubble,” she said. “You’re sharing rooms with other students, you were talking to other students, you were competing in physical rooms with others, and then it also allowed the students to just have fun.” Neto talked about another con. “There’s a big chance something could go wrong, like if there’s a poor internet connection or if there’s technology issues.”

 

Due to these cons, some HOSA members have been discouraged and are not participating in the competition this year. “I know quite a few people who decided not to compete this year,” mentioned Neto. “I think the virtual competition made them feel like it wasn’t the same as the in-person competition, so it wasn’t worth it to them.” 

 

Neto herself even had second thoughts, but she changed her mind later on. “At first, it didn’t feel worth it to compete,” she continued, “I changed my mind because I realized it’ll be a good experience and I’ll make good memories, even though we don’t get to go to Layton.”