LOUISVILLE, Colo. (CBS4) – After the graduating class of 2020 was robbed of the opportunity to have normal graduations and proms last year, the State of Colorado green-lit the year-ending celebrations for the class of 2021 throughout Colorado. So long as health guidelines are promoted and enforced at the events, high school seniors are allowed to go to prom.
At Monarch High School in Louisville, students and staff have been working together to make sure a prom could be both safe, and fun, for those who choose to attend. The prom, which is currently scheduled for May 7, was scheduled at the Denver Aquarium in hope that the venue was large enough to keep students spaced out.
"This year has been really tough for everyone," said 17-year-old Tori Sylvester, a senior at Monarch.
Sylvester shared the responsibility of coordinating Monarch's prom alongside fellow senior Noah Hubbard. The two are not only co-presidents of the senior senate, they are also currently dating.
After watching their friends miss out on prom in 2020, they were thrilled to see hosting an event was possible this year, even if it isn't conventional.
"I'm very excited, I think it is very special that our class can have one big thing together. Because we really haven't had anything. We haven't had big sporting events, or assemblies. It is fun we can do something together," Sylvester told CBS4's Dillon Thomas.
By following current state guidelines, the students will be asked to stay in cohorts while at their proms. Schools are encouraged to do virtual events, if possible. Or, if in person, they are asked to do things like crowning of Prom King and Queen virtually.
Six-foot distancing is required, and masks must be worn if the event is indoors.
"Six-foot dancing may be a little weird. Slow dancing will look a little weird six feet apart," Hubbard noted. "We can just do the 'Cha-Cha Slide' together."
Hubbard said, with vaccines rolling out and cases among some age groups declining, he hoped the state would rid of the distancing guidelines by prom night.
Principal Neil Anderson said Monarch is doing everything they can to make sure the students establish memories for a lifetime, while also making sure everyone is responsible with their health.
"Planning for this event, we want to make sure it is special. But, we want to make sure it is safe," Anderson said. "Making sure they are wearing masks, sanitizing hands where and when needed, and watching the flow that happens on the dance floor."
Anderson said the aquarium gave them three large rooms, plus hallways with exhibits to look at. Because of that they can better manage the amount of people in a room at any given time, while also encouraging the students to spread out.
The Boulder Valley School District will offer students free COVID-19 screenings the week of prom.
"We are also encouraging our seniors not to come in large group vehicles like party buses or limousines," Anderson said. "So much of the social side of things has been removed because of the pandemic. If we are able to bring a social event in a safe way that students and staff feel comfortable participating in, that is going to create a memory, they are going to remember years from now."
Hubbard and Sylvester said prom can, and will, be done in a way that will create new memories, not new cases of COVID.
"I'm really excited. That is what we are trying to create, as normal as can be and experience for the senior class," Hubbard said.
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