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Prom during a pandemic: What Assumption High School is planning to keep students safe

The school will be hosting a sanctioned event with COVID precautions in the hopes of deterring students from other unsafe options

DAVENPORT, Iowa — After proms were cancelled last year, high schools are now facing the decision with whether to go through with the big dances this year. It’s been a year of cancellations and shut downs, and now Assumption High School is preparing to offer a prom to juniors and seniors.

These upperclassmen are ready to dance the night away. Principal Bridget Murphy says she’s been amazed at the gratefulness and maturity she’s seen in her students this past year. “They’re just grateful that we’re able to have it.”

With proms across the river being cancelled, Iowa high school students are experiencing a luxury that can’t be experienced just miles away.

Principal Murphy says they’ve done other events throughout the year like sporting events and gatherings, and they’ve gone smoothly. Murphy saying, “At the time where we’re at in our community we’re asking what’s appropriate. So we feel like now being able to host an event like this is going to be appropriate.”

The dance will happen at Rhythm City Casino in one of their ballrooms. Administration shared with News 8 that the more aspects of the night they can control, the less chance there is for an outbreak of COVID-19.

This includes aspects like offering dinner at the dance to dissuade from pre-prom meals, as well as offering post-prom at the high school. It will include spaced out activities and raffles for students in the gyms and lunch room at Assumption. 

Principal Murphy saying, “It keeps it simple and doesn't really involve students doing their own things in separate places and keeps everybody safe I think.”

There’s about 250 students that can attend prom. Murphy says they’ve been strongly recommending masks to students. Vaccinated students, however, don’t need them. The school is using an honor system, trusting students to do the right thing on deciding whether or not they need a mask. 

They’re also strongly encouraging vaccinations to all students eligible. “Every student that would be at the dance has the option to be able to be vaccinated and we're really encouraging students to be able to pursue that as soon as available.”

It’s an effort to keep an eye on students at their event, instead of risking loose rules at a separate one.