OUR VIEW: A safe prom is possible

  The class of 2021 will be a “once in a lifetime” class –not only because of the students who comprise it, but also because they were close to being the only class to completely miss out on one of high school’s most sacred traditions. Last year, prom was canceled due to the rising threat of COVID-19, and although plans are made this year to host prom, there is still rising concern over exactly how safe the event will be.

  Although calendars have been marked for Prom 2021, there is still some level of concern over the logistics of the event amidst the pandemic. Social gatherings have already been declared to be one of the greatest tools in COVID-19’s arsenal, so it’s understandable that such worries exist. Despite this, it’s still possible to have a pandemic prom that’s just as safe and enjoyable as this school year has been.

  Of course, the initial solution would be to provide basic safety precautions at the event. Many public businesses nowadays have temperature scanners always on standby alongside gallons of hand sanitizer to distribute to guests. As well as this, the distribution of food will need to be considered due to how prevalent  a disease spreader food can be. No one wants sickness sprinkled onto their hors d’oeuvres, so the best solution would be to provide prepackaged food rather than traditional party food.

  Another important aspect of prom to consider when coming up with safety precautions is the venue itself. One proposed idea is that prom can take place outside in an area such as a football field. This isn’t the best idea –traversing a field made for playing sports won’t be the easiest task while wearing formal attire, and early May weather will be rather harsh even at night. The best solution is to have prom in a wide-open, ventilated building rather than anywhere outside. Not only does this reduce methods of transmission for sickness, but it allows furniture and tables to be spread out in a way that encourages social distancing.

  Once the event actually starts, being safety-minded becomes more of a personal matter. It’s recommended that one only sticks with his or her personal “friend group” while at the event, composed of people he or she regularly interacts with. Sticking to trustworthy peers, especially those already confirmed to be in strong health, drastically reduces the chance of anything spreading. It’s also important to consider personal responsibility and apply it to the event by making use of masks and hand sanitizer. The same precautions that students have been encouraged to take since the beginning of the school year are still going to be in effect at school events, so make sure to utilize the COVID prevention strategies that students are already familiar with.

  There is  opposition to hosting prom this year, whether it be due to safety concerns or even concerns over the safety concerns, with people claiming that prom won’t be as “fun” with them. When considering these two stances, it’s important to consider that prom is like a “coming of age” event for high school students. It’s not something that can is easily accepted when cancelled or missed, and hosting it is critical to ensuring the satisfaction of students after this rough year. Students need a reward after all of the trials they were forced into by the pandemic, and a safe and entertaining tradition like prom would be perfect. Students were still able to enjoy themselves this school year despite pandemic restrictions, so what will be the difference with prom? Safety precautions are already definite and unlikely to get in the way of the fun.

  Students  who don’t want to attend if they cannot be “free” is not only heartbreaking, but it’s rooted in issues that won’t even be a problem in the first place. If one chooses to miss out on prom, you will most certainly come to regret it later once word gets out about everyone else having safe fun. This is especially saddening for seniors, who will never have gone to prom at all if they choose to opt out, seeing as last year’s prom was completely cancelled. Having fears is completely understandable, but those fears shouldn’t prevent one from being able to enjoy one’s life.  If students take precautions just as we do every day, they ’ll find out there’s nothing to worry about.

  For both the classes of 2020 and 2021, prom will be the light at the end of the tunnel as the pandemic begins to wind down with the distribution of vaccines and other treatments. That’s why it’s important to make this treasured high school tradition as great as possible, while also ensuring that it remains as safe as possible. As long as those organizing the event and those participating take personal responsibility to ensure this happens, there will be nothing to be concerned about except finding the right tuxedo or dress.