Local school districts begin planning for high school prom, graduation ceremonies

Many area high schools and school districts have begun the planning processes for the possibility of in-person proms and graduation commencement ceremonies this spring.

News Center 7 reached out to 18 school districts across the Miami Valley Tuesday to find out what specific plans for the two events as spring arrives.

Of the countless disruptions caused in the last year by COVID-19, one notable one was the disruption caused to these normal high school staples. However as cases and positivity rates are on the decline and restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings are relaxed, it appears 2021′s group of high school upperclassmen will be able to celebrate.

“We are excited to do this for our young people who have missed out on many opportunities over the last year,” Wapakoneta City Schools Superintendent Aaron Rex said. “I am sure these will be fun and memorable events for our juniors and seniors.”

Some districts like Urbana, Eaton, Bellefontaine, and Sidney schools all said they will have some form of both events and will have them as normal as possible, but with some expected COVID-19 protocols in place like masks and social distancing.

Additionally, Urbana schools plan to only allow students within the district to attend their prom.

Other districts like Dayton Public, Beavercreek City, Springfield City, and Kettering said plans were still being finalized for both.

Select district plans as of March 9, 2021:

  • Beavercreek City Schools: Details are still being worked out for both events, according to a district spokesperson.
  • Bellefontaine City Schools: Prom is scheduled to be outside this year after having a successful Homecoming dance outside in the fall, according to Superintendent Brad Hall. Graduation is scheduled for May 21 at 7:30 p.m. and will be at the football stadium, as it normally is. Attendance will not be limited as the district plans to use bleachers on both sides of the field.
  • Celina City Schools: News Center 7 is still awaiting a response on prom and graduation plans.
  • Centerville City Schools: The district is still awaiting additional guidance from the Ohio Department of Health for both events, according to a district spokesperson. However, school leaders are working with student leaders to explore options to celebrate the graduating class, the spokesperson said.
  • Dayton Public Schools: Nothing has been decided for either prom or graduation, according to a district spokesperson.
  • Eaton Community Schools: School district plans to hold both graduation and prom “as normal as possible,” Superintendent Jeff Parker said.
  • Fairborn City Schools: News Center 7 is still awaiting a response on prom and graduation plans.
  • Greenville City Schools: The district plans to have a prom but is waiting further guidance from the Ohio Department of Health, Superintendent Douglas Fries said. Graduation ceremonies are expected to be outside at their stadium with the 30 percent outdoor capacity limit, as set by Gov. Mike DeWine and the ODH. Limited tickets will be available for graduates.
  • Huber Heights City Schools: News Center 7 is still awaiting a response on prom and graduation plans.
  • Kettering City Schools: The district, and Fairmont High School, are still in discussions with Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County about plans for graduation and prom, according to a district spokesperson. The district hopes to share more definitive plans with families and students by the end of the week.
  • Miamisburg City Schools: News Center 7 is still awaiting a response on prom and graduation plans.
  • Piqua City Schools: News Center 7 is still awaiting a response on prom and graduation plans.
  • Troy City Schools: The district is still awaiting further guidance and guidelines from state and local health officials before any official plans are made for prom or graduation, according to Troy City Schools Director of Communications, David Fong. “We will do everything we can to ensure we have both in some capacity,” said Fong.
  • Sidney City Schools: District is planning for both an in-person graduation commencement ceremony. Superintendent Bob Humble said prom will be “normal” with the exception of mask wearing.
  • Springboro Schools: Plans for both ceremonies have not been finalized. For prom, the district is looking into “some type of social event that meets both State and County health guidelines,” a district spokesperson said. For graduation, an in-person ceremony is planned with a lamented number of people in attendance. The district is also awaiting more guidance from DeWine and ODH before finalizing plans.
  • Springfield City Schools: Plans for graduation were approved Tuesday by the Clark County Combined Health District, a district spokesperson said. However, details about the ceremony were not released. Details will be shared with students and parents later. Possibilities for prom are still being discussed, the spokesperson said.
  • Urbana City Schools: Prom will be held this year but due to the size it will be held in the school’s guy and adjoining dining commons instead of at an off-site venue, Superintendent Charles Thiel said. Only Urbana students will be allowed to attend. For graduation, the traditional outdoor ceremony will take place, but in order to maintain social distancing, only a limited number of spectators will be allowed per student, Thiel said.
  • Wapakoneta City Schools: The district plans outdoor ceremonies for both graduation and prom, Superintendent Aaron Rex said. Prom will be held May 15 with a catered dinner in a large tent, followed by the dance in the school’s courtyard. Graduation will be outdoors for the first time since 1993 at the district’s newly-renovated football stadium May 28.