Some area high school proms are returning this year after many were canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chatfield, Grand Meadow, and Rushford-Peterson high schools will hold a prom this year that is very similar to previous years, while Houston High School will hold an event different from traditional prom.
On Saturday, May 1, students at Chatfield High School will be enjoying “A Night in the Garden” at their 2021 prom. It’s an event that is nothing short of a miracle, typically students have several months to plan and create a prom theme, but this year they only have about five weeks to get everything done. “We have to make most of our items this year because we have a budget of $0,” says Chatfield High School prom advisor Laura Adams, “but with some donations of items we need and some donated cardboard, paper, and items from previous years we can do it.”
Of course, precautionary measures will be in place throughout the evening. During the grand march, students will have to distance six-feet apart. The dance floor will be split into different sections and students will be asked to remain in their assigned section, if tables and chairs are used, students will need to remain at their assigned spots to keep a more accurate contact tracing system. At this time, the grand march is closed to the public, but the school is planning on having the grand march live-streamed on Chatfield CCTV so everyone can watch.
“I think the juniors so far are excited to create a fun prom for the seniors,” adds Adams, “I have had many seniors asking about prom and I know they really want to have it this year.”
Grand Meadow High School plans on hosting prom on Saturday, May 8 at the school. They hope to hold the grand march outside to allow for more people to attend and greater social distancing. The dance itself will be held in their Legacy Gym and students will be required to wear masks.
When Grand Meadow High School prom advisor Kira Stevenson was asked if students are excited for prom, her response was simply “YES.”
“From what I’ve heard so far, they are excited about the prospect of having a prom or anything that can closely resemble a prom,” Stevenson adds, “they haven’t had a social function in over a year, so they are pretty thankful for anything we can provide to them. We are trying our best to make this experience as normal as possible but still follow all the guidelines.”
Rushford-Peterson High School plans on hosting a semi-outdoor prom on Saturday, May 15. They hope to have the grand march on the football field and rent a tent for the dance portion. Rushford-Peterson high school principal, Jake Timm, stresses that they will continue to communicate with Fillmore County Health as prom and graduation season approaches. Currently, they are only allowing juniors and seniors from Rushford-Peterson to attend, but this is being continually discussed. “We’ve had modified sporting events throughout this school year, but this will be the first ‘formal’ event,” says Timm, “anything that resembles normalcy is exciting for the students.”
Concerns over keeping a 6-foot distance on the dance floor cause Houston High School to modify their prom this year. Typically, prom-related decisions have to get approval from the administration, but this year a COVID-19 committee has been added to the mix. Houston High School prom advisor, Lisa Evans, says that rather than having a typical prom, the school will be hosting an event that includes a grand march with crowning of prom royalty, a catered meal, and a show on May 1. All guests will be expected to wear masks and keep social distancing throughout the event.
The last time students at Houston High School had a formal event was nearly two years ago in May 2019. Right now, parents really want their kids to have a formal event, but Evans says that while the prom committee is excited to create something that the students will enjoy, there is a lot of apprehension about who will attend if students aren’t allowed to dance.
At Kingsland High School, superintendent James Hecimovich says the school opted out of sponsoring a prom this spring. According to a press release from Kingsland High School on April 2, the school does not believe they have the ability to meet the requirements to safely manage a school-sponsored prom. A group of parents have stepped forward and are hosting a privately-sponsored prom and grand march to be held on May 1.
At the time of writing, Caledonia, Fillmore-Central and Mabel-Canton high schools plan to have prom, but have not finalized any plans.
Lanesboro, LeRoy-Ostrander, and Spring Grove high schools could not be reached for comment.