BALLSTON SPA — With schools physically closed and distance learning in place for the rest of the school year due to COVID-19, administrators are scrambling to figure out how to celebrate milestone events like graduation and prom.
Some schools have decided to cancel prom outright, while others have rescheduled for the fall. Ballston Spa High School recently announced that it has rescheduled senior prom to Sat. Aug. 1 and graduation to Tues., Aug. 4.
“The Ballston Spa High School administration, staff and students have rescheduled both the Class of 2020 Graduation Ceremony and the Senior Prom to early August pending the state’s approval for gatherings like this to be held,” said Principal Gianleo Duca on the school’s website.
According to the website, senior prom will be held at the Saratoga Springs City Center and the attendees will receive masks to wear. It’s not clear if students can bring their own.
Asked for details on precautions the school plans to take in holding prom, Stuart Willams, the school’s community relations coordinator, said: “If we are allowed to have large gatherings by then we would follow any safety protocols mandated by the state. It’s too early to know a lot of details.
“They set a date later in the summer to try and have this event for the seniors and let them keep planning.”
Tickets for the senior prom go on sale June 1 at the high school and are $70 each. Only checks or money orders will be accepted, and to adhere to social distancing measures, school administrators are asking only one student per couple purchase tickets.
Besides senior prom, Ballston Spa High School’s graduation ceremony was also recently moved to Aug. 4 at the Times Union Center.
It’s still not clear if these events will be able to take place as scheduled with the state’s current ban on gatherings.
Earlier this week, the Mohawk Valley and several other regions in the state were given the green light to begin the slow process of reopening beginning Friday. However, as of Tuesday afternoon, the Capital Region was still short of meeting all the criteria for reopening, meeting five of the seven metrics required.
Some local politicians and school officials are also looking at ways to hold live graduation ceremonies. State Sen. Jim Tedisco, R-Glenville, asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this week to consider allowing schools to have graduation ceremonies at drive-in movie theaters.
Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, also asked the governor to provide schools with guidelines that would allow for in-person ceremonies.
The coming weeks will be a waiting game for students and school officials to see if these events will be allowed and what precautions would be required.