Scottsdale Unified School District

Unlike last year, Scottsdale Unified School District seniors will be allowed to have in-person proms and graduations this year.

A year after their classmates missed out key end-of-year milestones, high school students in the Scottsdale Unified School District will likely have the opportunity to participate in graduation and prom.

According to an update from Superintendent Dr. Scott Menzel sent to families on March 26, the district is in the process of considering options to resume those events that were canceled last year due to COVID-19.

“This includes allowing proms to be scheduled with enhanced mitigation strategies and planning for in-person graduation ceremonies, with some restrictions on the number of attendees to allow for physical distancing while also ensuring the Class of 2021 has a graduation experience that is in-person,” Menzel wrote.

The district has not yet released the capacity restrictions for graduations, but stated those events will adhere to the district’s existing COVID-19 mitigation strategies.

“Each of our high schools is looking at the size of its graduating class and comparing the capacities of school and outside venue options in an effort to maximize family and guest participation,” Assistant Superintendent Dr. Milissa Sackos told the Progress.

Schools in the district are in the process of selecting venues for proms as well.

Proms will be held at venues selected by each school’s students where mitigation can mirror what is currently in place in schools, Sackos said.

Despite COVID-19 concerns, Sackos said principals have not expressed any concern about the availability of chaperones for the proms.

She did not specify whether or not teachers, parents or other adults would chaperone the event.

Menzel cited decreasing COVID-19 transmission in the community, stating he is hopeful the area will reach a “moderate” level of spread soon.

SUSD is currently in a state of “substantial transmission” and case numbers are rising slightly after weeks of decline, according to county Department of Public Health.

According to the county, new cases per 100,000 residents within SUSD boundaries increased from 52 during the week of March 14 to March 21 to 57 from March 22 to March 27. Positive new test results rose from 4.26 percent to 4.97 percent.

“By taking deliberate and careful measures, I believe we will finish this school year on a positive note and be ready for a great start to the 2021-22 school year,” Menzel wrote.