GAITHERSBURG, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Even with it only being February, parents of graduating seniors in the DMV are already thinking about prom and graduation.
They are hoping their kids will get to celebrate both milestones in person and not have to deal with what the class of 2020 went through at the beginning of the pandemic when such important events had to be canceled.
"It’s monumental in your life and it’s an important piece of your trajectory," said Jeannette O’Connor, whose son is a senior at Albert Einstein High School. "I think for a lot of kids especially at our school at Einstein we have a lot of kids who might not be going on to college."
Montgomery County Public Schools have provided an outline of a graduation plan but they won’t have a final answer until the mid to end of April.
The school system’s plan involves several options.
Plan A would be traditional graduations at existing venues including DAR Constitution Hall, Mt. St. Mary’s, UMBC, or home school base with full attendance or limited attendance based on health metrics and guidelines.
Plan B includes option 1 (de-centralized) where all schools graduate from their respective outdoor stadiums with each school designing and executing a school specific plan.
Option 2 includes Gaithersburg High School stadium where a school would opt to use the location if their stadium is unable to accommodate graduation on or before April. 30. MCPS officials tell Fox 5, the stadium is ideal due to space, accessibility, and is centrally located in the county.
Plan C suggests that all schools conduct virtual graduations.
"I think MCPS is hearing loud and clear from parents that we absolutely do want some kind of an in-person ceremony no matter what that looks like this year," said Sarah Kessler, a parent of two Northwest High School students. "I mean our seniors have lost everything, their entire year. I want all kids to be able to be included because once you go to private events it gets very cliquey and who gets invited or doesn’t and who has the resources to do it."
"I don’t think it should we ever get to a point where it should all be canceled because there was a lot of time to prepare for it so I definitely would be upset," said Kessler’s daughter, Anna Kessler. "I’ve worked really hard in school so I would just like to be recognized for my achievements in front of my family friends and teachers."
MCPS spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala said she has not seen specific prom plans yet but when the school system does receive that information, they will share it with the community.
FOX 5’s Ayesha Khan also checked with some other local public school districts about their plans.
Loudoun County Public Schools’ offices said they are presenting three possible scenarios to include virtual, or a combination of virtual and in-person or all together in person.
Prince George’s County Schools’ officials said that a decision to move forward with graduation and prom will be made on a rolling basis simply due to the pandemic.
Fairfax County Public Schools’ officials told FOX 5 that a group of student leaders and FCPS staff are working on celebrations, events and recognition of important milestones. District officials will include the possibility of in-person graduations.