Prom season will look different this year.
However, most administrators and students at Douglas County’s five high schools are just happy that barring something unexpected they will actually have a prom this year.
All proms, and most other school activities were canceled last year about this time because of the coronavirus pandemic.
All five county high schools are planning on having proms for their upperclassmen next month.
Alexander and Lithia Springs will hold on-campus proms while while Douglas County, Chapel Hill and New Manchester have contracted theirs to be offsite.
Douglas County Schools Superintendent Trent North left the decision on the proms up to each school’s administrative staff.
“Each high school principal is expected to be responsible for ensuring that students safely adhere to guidelines established by the Douglas County School System, and the Douglas County Board of Education,” North said in a statement emailed to the Sentinel. “Prom participants will also be required to adhere to additional guidelines put in place by the CDC and the local jurisdictions hosting the event.”
Last week, Gov. Brian Kemp signed executive orders easing some of the restrictions on gatherings and restaurants.
Some schools are placing restrictions on their prom.
Lithia Springs Principal Travis Joshua said that both juniors and seniors are welcomed but guests of juniors must be students at the school. Seniors can bring an outside guest.
The school will transform its gymnasium into the prom site.
“The event planning company assured us that it won’t feel like a gym,” Joshua said. “We feel our gym is big enough to accommodate all who wants to attend.”
Alexander will utilize both its gyms and the outdoor space between the gyms to hold its junior/senior prom.
Alexander Principal Chris Small said some staff who graduated from the school said it has the nostalgia of previous proms before they were taken off campus.
“There were a lot of places that weren’t big enough,” Small said. “We will have control over the facility and be ability monitor the protocols. If you talk to some of the teachers that were around a few decades ago, they remember the uniqueness of having it on campus.”
Douglas County will hold its prom at The Cellar, and it’s only open to the senior class.
Douglas County Principal Andre Weaver said the prom decision was made in February with the goal of keeping every one safe.
“We were trying to limit it,” Weaver said. “I think the kids getting one prom for their high school career is better than none. The seniors can bring a date.”
Chapel Hill and New Manchester will both hold theirs at Domaine Night Club in Atlanta on opposite weekends. New Manchester’s prom will be May 1 while Chapel Hill’s is May 15 at the same Atlanta location.
Chapel Hill Principal Nicole Watson said they have averaged about 300 students at previous proms.
“We feel this venue has plenty of room,” Watson said. “We had planned to go there last year before it was canceled.”