This year’s prom: Dancing the night away — outside

By Amani Rivers

William Penn Charter School

As we surpass a year since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, it is becoming increasingly common to find some sense of normalcy in everyday life. Whether it’s the Sixers opening up their arenas to fans, or ticket sales picking up for events such as the Rolling Loud music festival in Miami, Americans are striving to return to their pre-COVID routines.

For high school students May and June signal the end of a school year and highly anticipated junior and senior proms. 

A promenade dance, or The Prom, is one of those rites of passages, bringing high school students together for a night full of fancy dresses and semi-formal suits, makeup, dancing, and singing their favorite songs. Burdened with the pandemic, it comes as no surprise that prom activities are not the same this year.

Many schools are taking precautions to provide students with a COVID-restricted proms.

 “Penn Charter isn’t allowing guests from outside of school to come with us to the prom for the sake of protecting the community,” said Noah Brooks, a junior at William Penn Charter School.

 Schools such as Bishop McDevitt are holding their proms in outside spaces. Said McDevitt’s junior Abigail Richardson: “My school is hosting its prom at Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown.  They have made it clear that the prom will be operating in accordance with all state and country guidelines and recommendations, along with the CDC’s protocols.”

Madison Smith, a junior at Friends Central School, said such protocols and restrictions are bound to dampen spirits and enthusiasm for prom night. “There is a difference in enthusiasm because people aren’t allowed to bring their own guests, and it’s inside a tent.” Brooks echoed that sentiment: “I definitely think people are nervous to see how good it can look under a tent; we have no idea what it will look like.” 

The tents aren’t the only concern, Richardson said, “Students may think that everything associated with the perfect prom night, such as dancing, would be restricted because of COVID.” 

            Yet, it is important to note that schools are figuring out a way to conduct such a memorable night for students in a safe way.  “It’s impressive that our school went out of its way to figure out a totally different prom,” said Brooks. They’ve never had to deal with this before, so I can only imagine the brainstorming at meetings.” 

So as Prom Night signals the end of the school year, it also may signal the return to life as we once knew it.

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