Social events during Covid-19 are considered very controversial. Many people believe in a strict quarantine with the exception of essential activities, like grocery shopping and medical appointments. These individuals do not feel that social activities, such as class trips, school sports or dances, should still occur. Despite this, other people believe there is a need to get back to the normalcy that came with life before the pandemic spread worldwide.
Prom originated as a dance intended to teach teenagers social skills. Now, it has become a tradition most teenagers look forward to their entire high school career and is considered a rite of passage by many. Unfortunately, last year, juniors and seniors did not get their prom due to the national lockdown for Covid-19. It was a crushing blow for seniors that had to give up many senior activities, trips and spring sports, along with graduation being turned virtual for many. What made it even more difficult for seniors was that they had no warning and no way to plan, leaving many feelings cheated out of their senior year. This year, schools are finding ways to hold a prom for their seniors to bring them some normality amidst the chaos. There is time to plan a safely held prom, as long as they follow the school’s regulations and protocols. Hosting a prom will be a beneficial school event to give seniors something positive to look forward to in this unprecedented year.
“I believe that we should have prom because this will be the only opportunity for us to have one this year, since it was canceled last year during my junior year,” senior Annika Dean said.
Some schools have decided on holding virtual proms, which is entirely safe for Covid-19 regulations. Despite it being virtual, girls and boys will still be able to dress up and socialize; however, other schools plan on having an in-person prom for their students. This option is a manageable idea for small private schools, like Maclay, because they can follow protocols easier than a larger, public school. For the larger schools, couples could find a way to be six feet from other couples with masks on, attempting to not have a super spreader event. Holding an outside prom could also help with Covid-19 regulations, especially due to the airflow from the outside. When people are outside, the air is constantly moving, dispersing the virus droplets. You’re less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets containing the virus.
“I think we should have prom this year because of all of the things that have already been cancelled so far this and last year,” senior Nicole Macri said. “Also, it will be a great ‘last dance’ for all of the seniors to enjoy together before we all go our separate ways for college next year!”
Another aspect to consider is the date prom will be held. Proms are usually held at the end of the school year, in May or June. By this time, the pandemic should be on a decline with the increase in vaccine distributions by the Center of Disease Control (CDC). Teenagers are also less at risk of being hospitalized if they have no pre-existing health issues. For people who are more of a risk, there are online options for prom too. Schools have been face timing and using Zoom to celebrate prom.
“We should have prom this year because for class of 2021, this year is our last chance to go to the high school prom,” senior Britton Robinson said.
People have argued that holding an event with a large crowd, especially within a school, is not a smart idea and can be harmful to all who attend. Even though teens are less at risk of dying from the virus, they can spread it to other, more vulnerable people. Even though that is a possibility, there should be regulations put in place to ensure that students are staying safe by wearing their masks and staying socially-distanced. Masks are barriers used to prevent respiratory droplets from reaching others, so if prom is to be held, they must be required. It is also important for the masks to properly cover everyone’s mouth and nose. Masks should be worn even when people are six feet apart, in accordance with CDC protocols. Staying six feet from one another won’t stop respiratory droplets from reaching other people unless masks are also involved. The CDC also advises to not have large crowds indoors. Therefore, having an outdoor prom is a perfect alternative that will also allow more room for social distancing. If it is held outdoors, there can be designated spaces to ensure there will not be any large groups of students gathered in one particular area.
There are many ways to host prom in a safe and enjoyable manner as a way for students to create positive memories of their time in high school. Prom should occur to help improve the mental health of the students, especially seniors, and help create more feelings of normalcy. However, in order for a successful prom to occur, Covid-19 precautions should be taken into account, and safety should be a priority.