How schools are reimagining proms to keep students safe

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 4:52 PM EDT
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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Prom season is upon us. So what does that look like in a year of separation and canceled traditions?

Local high schools are working hard to bring normalcy back into students’ lives.

“I just miss kind of hanging out with my whole class, as like a group. And we’ve been so separated for so long. It’s really exciting to be able to all be together again,” said Riley Machanic, a senior at South Burlington High School.

Machanic is one of many students who feel this way. South Burlington High students say they’re not exactly sure what their evening will look like but they’re just excited to have a prom.

At Champlain Valley Union High School, Class of 2022 Council Leader Anthony Spagnolo has been working for months to find a way to not only make prom happen but make it feel normal.

“So it’s going to look this year like typical prom, four hours worth of fun and dancing,” Spagnolo said.

From green grass to the red carpet, Spagnolo is planning something special for CVU. Being able to provide this experience for his students means a lot to him.

“It’s like everything,” he said.

It looks like a parking lot now, but by Sat., May 22, you can expect to see the CVU lot full of food trucks, games, space to eat and socialize, and a big tent will become a ballroom with a DJ.

“From the kids I’ve talked to the kids in the hallway who I’ve seen, there’s a general positive vibe,” Spagnolo said. “I think we’re going to have a pretty good turnout of seniors and juniors looking to have a good time.”

Hosting prom on a school’s home turf is a common idea for schools in our region.

Vermont’s outdoor guidelines state that “300 unvaccinated people, plus any number of vaccinated individuals” may attend an outdoor gathering.

It will allow schools, even as big as CVU, to host events like prom.

Students will be able to dance with each other, vaccinated or not, as long as they wear a mask. And that has students psyched.

“I’m very happy to be able to have one, I was really worried that I was going to come out of high school without being able to go to a single one,” said Jesse Buck, a senior at South Burlington High School.

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