Senior events to be held following COVID guidelines


Submitted David Gillingham

Steering Committee members meet virtually on Zoom to make plans for senior events and create a memorable experience for the class of 2021.

Annemargaret Furgal, Staff Writer

This article was updated on March 7.

Although many senior events may not be the same as usual due to COVID restrictions, students and staff are working towards providing safe and fun experiences for the class of 2021.

So far, seniors have missed out on big events like last spring’s prom, but there are still efforts being made for upcoming events like graduation. Principal Sean Bevan, along with senior class advisers and officers, has been navigating event planning while following COVID guidelines. 

“Honestly, my greatest wish would be to have full-blown regular graduation,” Bevan said. “The best-case scenario would be to go back to the way that things have been forever and ever, and the worst-case scenario would be that the vaccine doesn’t proliferate as well as we’d hoped and we’d have to really problem-solve around how to do proper graduation and other senior events safely.”

Safety is the number one priority when it comes to senior events, and graduation, being such a huge affair, presents its own difficulties. Bevan said that in order to follow COVID safety guidelines, compromises must be made, but new innovative ideas to compensate for these setbacks are being planned.

“What’s really difficult is trying to convert [the events] to a virtual scenario or a fully socially distanced scenario, and those are really challenging to do and honestly not as enjoyable for the students,” Bevan said.

While members of the class of 2020 were unable to experience normal graduation, school community members worked hard to provide ways to celebrate while following state guidelines. At Bevan’s previous school, Westwood High School, he experienced dealing with COVID with the graduating class of 2020.

“At my former school, we did a big drive-in graduation awards ceremony which was really well-received, but truly it wasn’t what [the seniors] were hoping for, which was a fully in-person, everybody there, close quarters, with their friends [experience],” Bevan said.

In order to follow state COVID guidelines, sacrifices must be made to keep everyone safe. Senior class adviser Brittany Burns has been working hard to organize events during the pandemic.

“I am hesitant to lay out what the best case [for events] is,” Burns said. “As the Steering Committee, we have decided that the right approach is to plan with current restrictions in mind and ease into things. We don’t want to create that sense of repeated loss.”

Given all of the tumultuous changes that COVID has brought this year, the Steering Committee is working hard to plan within state guidelines. 

“We will follow all state guidelines and mandates that include gathering capacities whether indoor or outdoor, mask-wearing, social distancing so we have a lot of ideas for if restrictions in place now will still be there in June,” Burns said.  

Taking precautions against COVID while planning for a major event like graduation is a huge undertaking that requires backup plans and room for changing guidelines and many different scenarios. However, students and staff are still working very hard to ensure that seniors get to have these experiences. 

“I do want to give a shout out to the Steering Committee,” Burns said. “A lot of students don’t get to see the work that’s going on… We continue to meet every Monday morning at seven a.m. on Zoom. So, for example, we are doing free class t-shirts for everybody this year, and [we are also] working on waiving dues payments from this year and last year and a refund option for people who paid ahead of time. Whatever events we do this year will be little to no cost for seniors.”

Recent news about a developing vaccine has given hope for the return to normalcy. 

“My hope is that the vaccine allows us to get back to the conventional, really important milestones that the seniors want to have,” Bevan said. 

The class of 2021 lost the end of their junior year, and now, the entirety of their senior year is completely changed, but there is still hope for a return to normalcy. Burns applauds the class of 2021’s resilience.

“This is my third class in a row; I’ve been working as a class adviser for 12 years, and this class has shown the most grit and dedication of any group I’ve ever seen,” Burns said.