Prom 2021: Southwest Florida students, school districts, and the community plan for a glamorous night

Posted at 1:06 AM, Apr 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 01:06:20-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Last year the COVID 19 pandemic canceled and delayed a few proms across our area, this year Lee and Collier County School Districts are giving juniors and seniors their fairy tale night.

In a statement, Lee County School District tells Fox 4,

“14 of our 15 high schools are having prom this year. Some have already held theirs, a couple are this weekend and the rest are still to come. Proms are to be held outdoors. Masks are required. Attendance is limited. Health screenings are possible. All the expectations have been or are being clearly explained to students,” said Rob Spicker, Assistant Director, Media Relations & Public Information, Lee County School District.

However, Collier County Public Schools says their seniors are planning what's called a senior celebration.

“CCPS continues to consult with the Department of Health-Collier on matters of health and safety and considers all implications of District-sponsored events on our 50+ campuses. None of our high schools will promote senior celebration events as ‘prom’ because that would imply dancing and the option to invite a guest from other grades or schools, both of which will not be a part of these senior celebrations,” Jennifer L. Kupiec Specialist, Communications & Community Engagement, Collier County Public Schools.

As districts enforce these Center for Disease Control guidelines on prom night, health experts say it’s important that students follow these preventative measures.

“So we want to make sure that we have masks, that we are using sanitizer, we’re maintaining distance because it’s important to protect ourselves and all of our friends that we are around because we don't want prom to become a super spreader event where people contract COVID - 19. That's, not a fun way to celebrate and enjoy these special days,” said Robert Hawkes, Director, Physician Assistant Program Florida Gulf Coast University.

Seniors like Hailey Gale say she’s looked forward to prom since freshman year.

“This year it’s definitely really special, I think everybody deserves to go to prom,” said Hailey Gale, a Southwest Florida high school senior.

Now a senior, she's excited to hit the dance floor on prom night especially after COVID-19 canceled her junior prom dreams last year.

“Super excited I couldn’t wait I was so excited to get to go and wear a pretty dress, hang out with friends, dance, music, everything. Hearing that there was no prom last year was definitely upsetting I think for everybody I think everybody is looking forward to it and Corona definitely messed that up for everybody who didn’t really get to enjoy their one day to be a prince or a princess at prom,” said Gale.

Gale said yes to her dream dress inside Jeannine's Bridal shop in Fort Myers & seeing the smile on her face meant everything to owner Jeannine Campos.

“It's just amazing the looks on their faces I mean everyone has been closed in for so long it even feels that much more important that much more special. Nobody can wait, everyone is just anticipating a wonderful night,” said Jeannine Campos, owner of Jeannine's Bridal Shop.

Campos says more people are coming in to experience the fairy tale of prom night.

“Well the momentum is nice, the feeling, the positive attitudes, it’s just night and day from what it felt like last year at this time,” said Campos.

Although seniors will have to abide by CDC guidelines during this year's prom Gale says it doesn’t matter as long as she can dance the night away with her classmates one last time.

“It’s cool that it gets to come true I definitely was looking forward to it and I’m glad corona didn’t mess that up,” said Gale.