Prom 2021 – Will it Happen?


Prom 2019

The pinnacle event for all Juniors and Seniors throughout the school year is prom. Whether it be extremely bold “promposals” or the excitement of getting a tuxedo or formal dress to wear, this extravagant dance is what people dream of when thinking about high school. Oftentimes, prom is held in a separate venue from the school, where it is decorated to fit a theme. In past years, magnet proms have been held in various event halls and last year’s prom was planned for the aquarium. Students get dressed up in formal attire and oftentimes invite a date and head to the dance where there is food and music. Many consider it to be one of the highlights of high school and it is something that people look back on forever. 

Unfortunately, due to concerns over coronavirus, the 2019-2020 prom was canceled, meaning that the juniors of last year have yet to have a chance to experience the event and the seniors of last year were sent off without having a final celebration. Although many schools in the Charleston area attempted to compensate in these trying times by hosting virtual proms, many students were upset that they were unable to experience a true prom. As the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year is coming to an end with covid cases still remaining at all-time highs, students are beginning to question whether or not a prom will be possible this year. Despite these concerns, a large majority of the student body is still in full support of a modified prom, in which social distancing is enforced. In an interview with student body president Lily O, it becomes apparent how hard the student government is working to try and make an in-person prom possible this year. Lily explained how they “are absolutely trying to make it happen safely”. She continued on to explain that if that is not possible then they are going to “try to organize something so the senior class can have a similar experience.” 

Despite the optimism of the student government, I believe a prom would have to happen in a certain way for it to be successful this year. The first way I could see it being possible is if anyone who decides that they want to go to prom gets a verified negative covid test. This would help ensure that no covid-positive students would enter the dance. The second way that I could see prom happening is that everyone wears a mask the entire time, dancing closer than  six feet is not allowed; it is required that participants get hand sanitizer at the door, and there is no shared food. This is slightly riskier, as it does not guarantee that no one is infected, but it is the same approach that the school has taken thus far, which has worked quite well. The final way in which I could see prom happening this year is if the vaccine is widely distributed to the point that we have herd immunity. This option is less likely because, despite the United States’ best efforts, it will be difficult to have the vaccine distributed to everyone over the next three months. Furthermore, the age group of high schoolers is one of the last demographics planned to receive the vaccine, making it even more unlikely that this will be a feasible solution.

That being said, there are ways to make it happen and I truly hope that the administration considers the options as the juniors and seniors of the Academic Magnet truly wish to participate in this event. In an interview with Lucy Pinckney, vice-principal of the Academic Magnet, she said that the future of prom is in fact in jeopardy saying “you know what goes on at prom.” Although, later in the interview, Ms. Pinckney said that Charleston County Public Schools plans on holding an outdoor graduation ceremony, and hopes that the same may be possible for prom. Although that would be different from a classic prom, I am positive the student body would be more than appreciative of the opportunity to have the event, in any variation. Senior Marshall Hodges explains how he would love to have a prom “as long as all appropriate health guidelines are followed according to CCSD’s policy.” I feel as though this demonstrates the feeling of many students, who would really enjoy a prom as long as it does not jeopardize the health of others. 

Hopefully, despite all of the challenges we have faced this year, we will be able to have a prom in order to have a celebration of a successful school year  overcoming many obstacles.