PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The easing of coronavirus restrictions is helpful when it comes to highly anticipated spring events, including proms. The School District of Philadelphia is trying to find a way for high schools to have a prom, or at least reimagine what one would look like amid a pandemic.
“We’re actually not calling it a prom,” Joanne Beaver, principal at Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts, said. “We’re rolling a bunch of our senior events into one event.”READ MORE: Philadelphia Mother Pleading To Find Driver Who Struck Son In Hit-And-Run, 'Guardian Angel' Who Found Him
It may not be called a prom officially, but students and staff at the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts are reimagining a prom-like setting in the era of COVID-19.
“We have this beautiful front lawn space, which is outdoors,” Beaver said.
The lawn will be transformed into a theater-style setting with socially distanced seating. Senior yearbooks will be provided, and an awards ceremony will honor graduating seniors. It will be the first time these students will be able to gather in a year and a half, all forced into virtual learning since the pandemic.
“We’ll remove the chairs, we’ll have a DJ playing music,” Beaver said. “And the kids will stay socially distance and safely as possible, will be given time to sign each other’s yearbooks while the music is playing.”
Prom gear is optional.READ MORE: Philadelphia's Evil Genius Beer Company Giving Out Free Beers To Those Getting Vaccinated In May
“We’ve told them they can come dressed for prom if that’s what they want,” Beaver said.
The Philadelphia School District is allowing schools to have proms, however unconventional, like graduations this year. Outdoor city venues can be used for those facilities that don’t have space and all CDC guidelines must be followed. Tuesday’s news of the city loosening restrictions on gatherings is making this even more possible.
“We will increase the capacity limits to meet the state’s standards,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said. “25% capacity indoors and 50% capacity outdoors for other gatherings and events.”
Schools are preparing for the culmination of a year like no other by hoping to keep some traditions alive.
“We just wanted to honor as many of the traditions as we could as safely as possible,” Beaver said.MORE NEWS: Friday Night In New Jersey Looks Like Something Out Of 2019 As Restrictions Eased
The high school has 171 graduating seniors this year, and they’re ready to celebrate them in the best way possible and the safest way possible.