There will be pomp and circumstance to close a school year cut short by coronavirus as dates have been set for WCHS prom and graduation.
On Monday night, the School Board officially approved Friday, June 5 for the prom and Friday, June 12 for graduation. While both events will take place, they will be markedly different.
“I know there will be a lot of jubilant seniors knowing they have a semblance of normal,” said Director of Schools Bobby Cox after the School Board approved the dates.
Cox explained how this year’s prom will be unique in the way students are allotted certain time slots to attend.
“Students will have to attend and leave the prom at certain times to follow the social distancing guidelines laid out by the state, but they will still be able to have the experience,” says Cox. “Although this year’s prom will be different, we wanted to try our best to provide the prom experience.”
Approximately 100 students or less will be allowed to be a part of the prom at one time to ensure being in accordance with the six-foot social distancing guideline.
Students can register in advance for the time slot they want to attend the prom.
“We will look at the space where the prom will be held, and see what grouping can be had to follow all guidelines,” says Cox. “We are recommending masks and face coverage, including WCHS principal Clark George encouraging masks to match prom attire if desired. Depending on time slots, five or six groups will rotate in and out of the prom. The times of the beginning and end of this year’s prom will be extended.”
Cox states prom registration will take place on a first-come, first-serve basis with an online database allowing students to sign up for the time of their choosing.
Senior graduation will occur June 12 beginning at 7 p.m. at Nunley Stadium.
Both the prom and graduation are at the discretion of parents or guardians.
“If any guardians feel it’s unsafe for their child to participate, we will try our best to accommodate our students the best we can,” says Cox.
The graduation ceremony will be modified to accommodate social distancing guidelines.
“Unlike previous years, there will be no shaking of hands, but students will still be able to walk across the stage and have their pictures taken,” says Cox. “We are having to limit the number of family members in attendance with four participants per student.”
Graduation will be held on the football field, as per usual, but with a separation of chairs on the field being six feet apart, and diplomas will be set on a table instead of being given through hand-to-hand contact.
“It’s definitely a memorable occasion. When able to give diplomas to children, it’s very special, especially as this class has had to endure a lot of change,” says Cox. “We hope to make this experience as normal and memorable as possible.”
For precaution, students and family members will be screened and socially distanced until the end of the ceremony.
“We’ve consulted the Health Department for guidance,” says Cox. “Attendees will have a band to show they are with a graduate, and must sit three rows apart across the stadium’s bleachers.”
During the School Board meeting, it was announced thermometers have been ordered and a guidance of a temperature no more than 100.4 degrees was allotted for attendance.
WCHS’s graduation will be available through live stream on Warren County Schools’ YouTube channel.
“The pandemic will never be forgotten, but the fact these students will get to walk across the stage, even without receiving a handshake, they will still receive the recognition they deserve,” said Cox.