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Spring Prom Update

Posted on 03/03/2021

After careful consideration, thoughtful deliberation with school administrators, and due to continued COVID-19 restrictions, Bladen County Schools, to include Bladen Early College, East Bladen, and West Bladen High schools, unfortunately, will not host any school-sponsored proms this spring. Should the restrictions on mass gatherings and social distancing guidelines be lifted to allow for greater flexibility, the district will re-evaluate the feasibility of the event.

Executive Order 195 issued by NC Governor Roy Cooper on February 24, 2021, and effective on February 26, 2021, restricts mass gatherings and includes a directive that public schools are to implement safety measures. Below is the text from EO 195 Section 2, Section 5, and Section 7:

 

  • 2.9. Schools. In all public school units, as defined by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-5(7a), and all nonpublic schools covered by Article 39 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes, all workers, teachers, Guests, other adults, and children five (5) years or older must wear Face Coverings both: 
    • When outdoors and within six ( 6) feet of another person, unless an exception applies; 
    • When indoors, at all times, unless an exception applies. 

 

  • Section 5. Mass Gatherings. For the reasons and pursuant to the authority set forth (above), the undersigned orders as follows: 5.1. Prohibition. Mass Gatherings are prohibited. "Mass Gathering" means an event or convening which is in a category not otherwise covered by this Executive Order, is not excepted by the following provisions of this Executive Order and brings together more than twenty-five (25) people indoors or more than fifty (50) people outdoors at the same time in a single confined indoor or outdoor space. This includes parades, fairs, or festivals. In publicly accessible indoor facilities, the Mass Gathering limit applies per room of the facility. At a park, beach, or trail, the outdoor Mass Gathering limit of fifty (50) people applies to each group of people that may gather together. 
  • 7.2. School and Health Officials to Continue Efforts. NCDHHS, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, and the North Carolina State Board of Education are directed to continue to work together during this State of Emergency to maintain and implement measures to provide for the health, nutrition, safety, educational needs, and well-being of children being taught by remote learning. 

 

Additional concerns that were also part of the decision:

  • The health and safety of our students.
  • Social distancing restrictions/guidelines.
  • Cancellations throughout the Sandhills region, and the state from school districts.
  • Risk of venues losing their license due to lack of compliance from customers/guests enforcing social distancing.
  • Additional expense for students and families during tough financial times.
  • Risk of a Class 2 misdemeanor for failure to comply with the EO in its entirety.
  • Risk of low turnout due to safety concerns.
  • Staff who are concerned with exposure resulting in a lack of chaperones.

We are very sorry as we all wanted this special occasion for our students, but it is just not legally possible for our schools to host this event.  We also wanted to provide enough notice to preempt families from spending money for apparel, etc. for the occasion.

We ask you all to please continue encouraging our students to avoid large gatherings of people and follow public health guidelines.  We don't want anyone in our community, least of all one of our students, to get sick with COVID-19.  We don't know everything about this virus, but we do know that it spreads effectively from person to person. It remains of great importance to wear a mask while with those outside your family and to follow social distancing protocols to protect yourself, your loved ones, and our community.

Thank you, everyone, for your understanding, and please stay safe.