Amidst the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic, the administration and senior class officers have been planning prom and graduation since September, when it was still unclear whether the events could take place. The administration has worked to provide students with the best possible events while adhering to Covid-19 guidelines and restrictions.
Mr. Cella, the senior class advisor, is responsible for planning various events, including prom. He works with the administration and senior class officers to determine the location of and protocols for the events. In September, when it was unclear whether the events would be held, they booked a venue that included both an indoor and outdoor space (Blue Bell Country Club instead of Normandy Farms, where Senior Prom is usually held). In March, they were fairly certain that the event would happen, so they finalized plans with the country club. Both the indoor and outdoor space will be used to allow for greater distancing to decrease the possibility of Covid-19 transmission. The event was finally approved by the school board on April 6th.
Some aspects of Senior Prom still remain unclear, like how dancing will work, but as of right now there will be two different groups. Each group will take turns eating and dancing to prevent large groups of people from gathering in a small area. When students sign up for prom, they will indicate who they would like to sit with, and groups will be made to best accommodate the requests. Masks will be worn at all times, except when eating and taking pictures. The school will also test all attendees for Covid-19 two days before the event and require a negative result to attend. Junior Prom was held on May 1st and was largely successful, though a few students unfortunately could not attend due to positive tests or contact tracing.
From the start of the year, the administration knew that graduation would occur in some form and hoped to hold the event in person. As the Covid-19 rules and guidelines changed throughout the year, it was difficult to get a clear sense of how the event would look. As of right now, the event will be an outdoor ceremony held at the Murray Avenue football field (Mark V. Mayson Stadium). Before deciding on this location, the administration considered other options outside of the school district, like Upper Moreland High School’s stadium. But the school could not control the date of graduation if holding it outside of the district. It is still not clear how many people will be allowed to attend the event.
Usually, each student receives 4 tickets for their family members, but this year that number could change. As new guidelines are released closer to the date of graduation, the administration will evaluate the number of people who can attend and determine how seating will work. The current plan is to build a stage in front of the bleachers on the track and to arrange seating on the field. Once a plan is made it cannot be changed, so more information will be available in the coming weeks. Mr. Rehr, the vice principal for the senior class, said, “We understand that the situation may not be ideal but we’re doing everything that we possibly can to give the students and the community the best close of the year.”