GRC prom to be two parties

After a year without a prom, this year’s graduating high school seniors will get to go to the big dance on Saturday, but not all of their friends will be there.

That’s because there will be not one prom, but two.

School officials, to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus, have decided that, rather than cram more than 360 seniors and their dates into a gymnasium, they would divide the event into two sessions, the first from 7 to 8:45 p.m., and the second from 9:15 to 11 p.m. at George Rogers Clark High School.

It will be in the auxiliary gym and, weather permitting, in the courtyard.

Superintendent Paul Christy said Wednesday the students get to choose which session to attend. However, this late in the week, if they haven’t bought tickets yet, it’s on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets are $15 per couple or $10 each, and they’re only available at the school bookstore.

Principal David Bolen discussed the plans during the Clark County Board of Education meeting Monday night, and students, parents, and school board members tried to persuade him to change the plans so that all of the students could be together in the main gym.

Board member Bill Taulbee asked Bolen if there was any consideration to change the plans.

“Not at this point,” he said, since it was so close to graduation and the Clark County Health Department has worked with school officials and signed off on the plan they have.

“Believe me, I am frustrated by the restrictions,” he said, but he and others had to do what they could to keep the students safe.

“We made the best possible decision we could for prom,” he said, and noted that some districts aren’t even having one again this year. “The kids deserve something,” he said.

One student, Alison Rose, thought they deserved more.

“It’s just very unfair to me, it’s unfair to my classmates,” she said.

One of her friends said there are 367 seniors, and there were “way more” students than that at a pep rally to celebrate the boys and girls basketball teams being in district competition.

“There were students playing games where they were climbing on top of each other with no masks,” Rose said.

Superintendent Paul Christy said Wednesday he was unaware of that situation at the pep rally until he heard about it Monday night, and he will look into it.

Taulbee urged Bolen to reconsider having one dance in the big gym and spreading students out as much as possible, but he told the audience, “I’m not sure what we as a board can do, if anything,” since it’s an administration decision.

Bolen said the students and guests can’t be spread out enough.

“We’re planning for 600” between the two sessions, he said.

Students from the first dance must clear the area before the second dance starts, and no visitors will be allowed. Students will be screened upon entering the school and are required to wear masks.

Seating will be limited and will be spread throughout the gym, cafeteria, and courtyard.

School officials had also planned to do the high school graduation on May 28 in two sessions, but after discussion during the board meeting, are now working on plans to have one graduation in the new football stadium. The board authorized spending up to $10,000 to buy hundreds of sheets of plywood to be able to construct a stage and seating around the field without damaging the turf.