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Cabarrus County Schools cancels prom, citing COVID-19 restrictions

The district said that current COVID-19 guidance and recommendations from federal, state and local health officials does not support large indoor gatherings.

CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. — Cabarrus County Schools announced this week it will not host proms or other dances this spring.

The district said in a Facebook post that the decision, “…is based on current COVID-19 restrictions, specifically, the indoor gathering order from Governor Cooper and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) guidance for school activities, which must follow the same NCDHHS guidance as the regular school day.”

Cabarrus County Schools said that school teams are working to plan safe and fun spring events for students, and those plans will be communicated to students and parents as they develop.

Chloe Flynn, a senior at Mount Pleasant High School in Cabarrus County, was looking forward to her senior prom -- she also had to miss her junior prom last year due to the pandemic.

“When you’re a little girl and you dream about your senior year and prom, and I don’t get to walk across the stage, they’ve already canceled that, so it’s been a lot of letdowns,” Flynn said.

She bought a dress for her junior prom that she didn’t get to wear and was hopeful that prom would still happen her senior year.

"It's just things like that are really important to girls and boys their senior year, so to take that away it's, it's really heartbreaking,” Flynn added.

McKenzie Faggart owns McKenzie Jade’s, a pageant, prom, and bridal dress store in Concord.

Faggart said she picks out prom dresses for her store, each with a specific girl and buyer in mind.

"Whenever the new rule came out, I was very upset because I was just thinking, you know, I bought all of these dresses for these specific girls with the hopes that they would come in and love the dress and love what they wear and remember it forever,” Faggart said.

She is still seeing students come in wanting to buy prom dresses, whether it’s for a home prom or a small gathering.

"It's important that you get to do these things and live through it so that whenever you grow up you can tell your kids about it, and you can show them the pictures of the prom dresses that are really dated by then,” Faggart said. “But I don't know, I think it's definitely something that they should still consider."

Faggart said she’s seeing girls gravitate toward dresses that are more comfortable this year since some school-sanctioned proms aren’t happening.

“We’re really working hard to make sure that the prices are good and the dresses are comfortable and pretty and with the trends,” Faggart added. “I know that trending things are very important to the teenagers, but really definitely things that are manageable and easy to wear.”

A group of parents in Cabarrus County are still working to find a way to make proms happen for several schools in Cabarrus County by hosting private events.

"Let's be honest, they've missed out on everything, and if it takes us doing a little bit of extra leg work to make sure some kids get a memory, we'll do it all day long,” said Kenneth Wortman, a parent.

Kenneth and his wife Amanda Wortman said the details of the proms are still fluid, but they are looking to host several proms between April and June for possibly seven or eight schools in the district.

The Wortmans said several people in the community have stepped up to help with things like dresses, tuxedos, and more, but they will still need even more help to host all of these events for the students in Cabarrus County.

“If they can just have a prom and just feel like normal, teenaged school kids,” Amanda said, “I think it will make a huge difference.”