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High schools forced to rethink prom, graduation

Don’t cancel that corsage just yet.

Or the mortarboard, or the tassel either.

While COVID-19 has forced Monongalia County’s three high schools to postpone prom and graduation, those two milestones for seniors won’t be permanent casualties of the pandemic.

Not if school officials get a say.

“Right now, we’re looking at everything we can look at,” Donna Talerico said.

Talerico, Mon’s assistant superintendent of schools, was talking about that on a Monday when seniors would normally be shuffling to their afternoon classes.

“It’s just that we were getting to the point where things were no longer going to be feasible on the calendar.”

Schools weeks ago were shuttered in anticipation of the coronavirus.

Pandemics don’t care about hall passes, Talerico said.

Pandemics made school districts redesign and re-invent, well … everything.

“It’s been a little surreal,” Talerico said. “To be honest with you.”

For Principal Kim Greene of University High School, that’s surrealism-times-275.

About 275 seniors make up the class of 2020 at the sprawling school on Bakers Ridge, and each one, the principal said, deserves a top notch, 12th grade experience.

Prom and graduation, she said, are integral parts of the social aspect.

But the learning, she said, has to commence also — even if commencement doesn’t, right away.

“It’s a learning experience for us, too,” she said, meaning teachers and administrators.

Meanwhile, Talerico said, such digital delivery might mean the salvation of the COVID-19 edition of senior year, after all.

The district, she said, is “looking at” the idea of virtual graduation, and maybe even a virtual prom.

What about a virtual version of Senior Skip Day?

“I don’t know,” she said.

“That one might have to be off the table.”

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