Students in the Christina School District haven't had a lot of time together in the past 13 months of the pandemic, but district administrators unveiled plans for two of the marquee end-of-school events.
Senior Director of Teacher and Learning Dean Ivory introduced Christina's plans for prom and graduation seasons, as they continue to work around COVID guidelines and the non-availability of the Bob Carpenter Center.
Graduation Week in Christina will run from June 7-11, starting with Newark High School, with all events utilizing the 2,400 seat Dragons Stadium to maximize attendance around social distancing.
Each student is currently scheduled to receive four tickets to the event.
Ivory said even though Dragons Stadium is red and yellow for their home team, the district plans to make sure it feels like a Newark or Christiana event on their nights.
"Picture that stage decorated with school colors, a huge school banner in the south end zone of the stadium, the sound of Pomp and Circumstance, the cheering families filling the air."
Ivory also laid out his vision for someone looking at the students from the stage.
"Each of them wearing a 'Class of 2021' school-branded face coverings donning their caps and gowns. With their families and friends in the stadium seating to our left and right, all of them socially distanced, in groups of four, wearing face coverings, celebrating the greatest event of their K-12 experience."
Newark is slated to go June 7, followed by Glasgow, Christiana, The Brennen School, and Adult Education on the ensuing evenings. Saturday, June 12 will be set aside as the rain date for all graduations.
Before that point are proms, and Ivory said each school has worked with a location to utilize their Division of Public Health plan to hold an indoor event.
Glasgow [Waterfall Banquet Center in Claymont] and Newark [Deerfield Country Club in Newark] are both scheduled to hold prom on May 13, while Christiana will use their own high school on June 4.
In all cases, Ivory said there will be COVID requirements.
"To attend prom, all of our students [and guests] are required to produce a negative COVID-19 test within 72-hours of the event. We have strategically scheduled testing events [to assist with getting the results]."
Newark and Glasgow will have access to a testing site at Kirk Middle School on May 10 from 1-7 p.m., while Christiana will host their own site on June 1 at the same hours.
Ivory mentioned there will be reminders from the DJ and signs about social distancing, and even cracked a joke about dancing restrictions.
"This also includes dancing at a 5-feet space... that I just made up. [laughs] That would be fun, but our kids would be like 'no way, Mr. Ivory, that's not happening."
The Christina School Board also voted to hold the first day of class for the 2021-22 year on Wednesday, September 6. A parent study revealed 73% of parents preferred starting after Labor Day.