Senior-only Prom to be held with modifications for COVID-19 safety

A seniors-only prom with adaptations to limit the risk of spreading COVID-19 will be held May 8 from 7:30-11:30 p.m. at Columbus Country Club.

Principal Kristin Robbins said in order for Prom to happen safely this year, there will be no dates from other schools or from any grade levels below 12th. She said that although the event will be held in the Columbus Country Club ballroom, all windows and doors will be open, and the administration is looking into putting food stations and tents outside in order to reduce the chance for virus spread.

Temperatures will also be taken and a COVID-19 waiver will be distributed prior to the event in order to reduce risk, Robbins added.

Social distancing and masks will be mandatory for attending students, and they will be asked to stay at least until 10:30 p.m. in order to reduce the number of students going in and out of the venue, she said.

Robbins said that a survey was sent to all high school seniors in February asking them their thoughts on Prom and if they would attend if it was held. Of the seniors who responded to the survey, approximately 92% said they would attend, she added.

Robbins explained that she understands the importance of Prom to upperclassmen, and especially seniors, so being able to have this tradition was really important to her and the administration.

“Obviously being a year into this [pandemic], there are many things that seniors couldn’t do, and there were a handful of activities we felt it was especially important to provide, and those were a Prom and graduation,” she said.

In order to make sure that all these events happen and run as smoothly as possible, Robbins said it is important for students to continue to be cautious in the weeks to come.

“Being careful in the next six to seven weeks will ensure that these celebrations can happen,” she said.

Prom coordinator and senior parent Dinah O’Dell said she has been meeting with Director of Operations Harley Williams and Robbins for months trying to figure out the best way to go about Prom this year.

None of the decisions were taken lightly, as she and the administration had to balance being safe with making Prom fun and memorable, she explained.

“We wanted to make sure we covered all bases as far as safety but also make Prom inclusive,” she added.

O’Dell also emphasized the importance of Prom and explained that she believes it is a great experience that every student in high school should have the opportunity to attend.

“We hold our traditions near and dear to us, and Prom is a rite of passage to a kid’s high school experience,” she said.

Senior Kate Huefner said she felt it was very important to have Prom because she thinks Prom can be done safely especially if only seniors are allowed to attend.

Although she has never been a huge fan of school functions, Huefner said Prom is an important part of the high school experience and not having it would be missing out on an important experience.

“It’s been a hard senior year, and nothing has really felt normal, so being able to have one event that feels a little closer to normal at the end of the year would mean a lot to me,” she said.

Huefner said she is thankful that the administration is working hard to give the senior class a Prom and make their year enjoyable even through the pandemic.

“I think they are doing a really good job of balancing the special moments of senior year while also trying to keep us safe,” Huefner added.