Fate of Senior Events Remains Unclear


Ava Francis-Hall, Editor

Novato High School seniors have been left in the dark as the coronavirus pandemic threatens to end the year completely. Events such as prom, graduation, and safe grad night could be on the chopping block as peak impact of the coronavirus is yet to be experienced.

All Marin schools, under the recommendation of the Marin County public health department, started a shutdown on March 16th. At first, the closure was planned to last until March 30th. Doubts surrounding this return date were proven correct as the closure was drawn out to May 4th. 

Students speculating that school will not return are drawing on certain points of evidence. College campuses all across the United States have shut their doors and forced their students to return home. In addition, if the coronavirus behaves anything like the flu, it has not yet peaked. Any type of virus in the winter usually spreads with quickened rapidity due to more frequent close contact and dry air that weakens the respiratory system. 

In light of these concerns, there is a fear that seniors moving onto college wouldn’t even experience the traditional move-in day in August or September. 

Leadership student Michelle Le commented on the future of senior events. 

“Well on Wednesday, seniors had a call and Mrs. Searle asked us about how we felt about combining San Marin and Novato Prom together. The school is thinking about having graduation and prom in August. Ideally, we want to keep the date but if we have to switch it [it would be] to August.”

The scope and consequences of the pandemic change day by day. Social distancing and self-quarantine have been employed to curb the rate of COVID-19 progression. Young people have been at the forefront of pleas from the US Health Department to stay inside. The virus can be spread by those not even showing symptoms yet. Young people especially are being urged to avoid contact with others as older populations or those with extenuating health conditions are more likely to die from contracting the disease. 

Although the fate of senior prom and graduation remain undecided, most students are understanding of the circumstances that have forced this difficult situation. Hopeful and slightly disappointed, the class of 2020 has been forced to look to the future with uncertainty. 

Senior Gianna Marino thinks the actions Novato High School is taking are reasonable considering the state of the world and the uncertainty of the greater impacts of the pandemic. 

“I’m upset that I won’t have a senior year with my friends and the normalities and standards that come with average senior year, but I totally understand why we’re doing this. There are so many other things in life that people are dealing with, especially in terms of the virus, and I’m praying this world can take the necessary and proper steps to resolve the issue and make a change,” said Marino. “If me not having a graduation or prom means the safety, happiness, and health of all those within the community, then I’m all for it. It’s the right thing to do to self quarantine, and I know us young people can be the forefront defense of this virus and help promote and actively make a change.”

The connections made through all four years of high school are valuable no matter how large or small they are. Senior Bella Lopez is trying not to believe the worst case scenario and is hopeful to see her friends again before the school year is over. 

“This is definitely so hard for myself and many other seniors as we deal with the possibility of not getting all of the defining moments of senior year, like prom and graduation,” said Lopez. “But, it’s so easy to get caught up in the ‘what if’s’ of all we can lose and become really sad. My hope is that we’ll be able to return to school May 4th, just to enjoy all of the people who have shaped our last four years for a little bit longer.”