Last year, in addition to the end of the school year being cancelled, the prom was as well. And that’s what led us here: to a Pandemic Prom on Saturday, April 17.
Falling in line with many other school events, including homecoming, which was removed from this year’s calendar, prom was up in the air. Any gathering would be tricky and would have to follow the Health Department's guidelines. But despite all the restrictions and new challenges, students received an announcement titled “Prom." In this notice, the administration announced that prom was first, going to happen; second, going to be held outdoors; and third, would require negative COVID-19 tests from attendees on the week of April 5 in order to ensure everyone stayed safe. And just like that, it was back to normal. Aside from the virus, masks, social distancing, and possible risk of you or your date having to be placed in quarantine before the dance. And Baylor is not the only school in town to make adjustments to host a prom. GPS and McCallie are hosting a joint prom, but unlike Baylor's senior and junior prom, GPS and McCallie are only permitting seniors. However, they can also bring an outside date.
As for the quarantine component, this exact situation occurred with a group of Baylor students two weeks before the prom. While he was home in China this November, senior Klaus Li was vaccinated. During winter break, Klaus and Barry Yang returned to the United States to complete the remainder of the school year. Although Klaus denies traveling back to the United States to attend his high school prom, an event that is not common in China, the timing did work in his favor. Li asked Gracie Tomisek to prom, and she said yes. However, the weekend before returning from spring break, Li had visited Vanderbilt University, and upon return, tested positive for COVID-19. Following CDC guidelines and the Health Department’s advice, Li’s quarantine lasted until the morning of April 17, the same day as the Baylor Prom. Yang offered to take Gracie, now dateless, in case Li was unable to attend the prom. However, Li tested negative and was released from quarantine only a few hours before the dance. Yang was still in the group, but Li was able to take Gracie.
As for the actual prom, it was pretty normal despite the circumstances. Ms. Hattie was at the door to greet everyone, along with Coach Clark, who was in charge of collecting tickets. Masks were required while at the event. At the end of the night, a bunch of high schoolers gathered under a tent, dancing in extravagant dresses, tuxedos, and masks was one of the most normal events that has happened in the last 13 months.