As the rules governing such events continue to change, Jackson City Schools officials recently announced their current plans for prom and graduation during a meeting of the Board of Education.

“We’ve been talking about this for months, but things keep changing from day-to-day,” said Superintendent Phil Howard during the Tuesday, April 13 meeting. “There has been new guidance since the last board meeting.”

Howard then invited Jackson High School (JHS) principal Thad Haines to address the situation. Haines said the Ohio Department of Education had sent updated health orders specifically addressing proms and graduations the previous week, which he says resulted in the district’s plan being modified a bit. Overall, he said a traditional walk-through ceremony is set to be held at Alumni Stadium (weather permitting), with a dance and Stay-at-Home-type activities following at ParksEdge.

“Students will be able to have those more traditional activities and Stay-at-Home-type activities all in one setting,” Haines said.

Currently, the walk-through ceremony is set to begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 15.

Hosting the walk-through outdoors, Haines explained, would allow for increased capacity, though the event will also be livestreamed as per usual. He said 150 to 160 couples are expected to attend this year’s walk-through/prom, so moving the affair indoors would prove problematic, again because of the current COVID-19 guidance.

“The guidance is a bit deceiving because they’re saying there’s no limit for outside venues, but yet you’re still expected to keep people in these 10-person pods with six feet between the next group,” Howard explained.

This, of course, also affects the district’s plans for graduation, which Haines said is hoped to be held outdoors at Alumni Stadium as well. In the event of inclement weather, the same issue of indoor capacity would arise. To that, Howard stated some school districts are setting two dates for graduation ceremonies in the event of foul weather during the first date, which is something he said Jackson may do as well under the current circumstances.

Overall, Howard said he is hoping the May 28 graduation will “end up looking pretty normal,” and that district officials would do their best to ensure as many people can attend the event as possible.