Proms can go ahead, but with just a month to plan, will they?
A recent announcement by the Quebec government means that high school proms in the province are allowed to happen. But some schools are questioning whether they actually will take place.
On Tuesday, Premier Francois Legault reversed course on a previous ban after public pressure from the class of 2021, saying proms could be held outdoors in tents with no masks or distancing required.
The change left schools scrambling to organize the festivities on extreme short notice, with just a month to plan.
Paul Karpontinis, a teacher at Lester B. Pearson High School in Montreal North said that's far less time than is normally dedicated to organizing.
“These things are very difficult to plan on a moment's notice. At the same time, if all the other schools are in our same position and they're all planning on a moment's notice, there's only so many providers,” he said.
The Association of Montreal School Administrators said they were never consulted by the government, saying Legault's announcement will generate expectations, frustration and unnecessary pressure.
The association said their immediate priority remains ensuring a safe end of the year for students and staff alike and coordinating COVID-19 vaccinations.
At the National Assembly, Legault's political opposition weighed in, with Quebec solidaire co-spokesperson Manon Masse saying his decision is “coming very late and I understand why teachers, directors, find it very short to organize something.”
Liberal leader Dominique Anglade also took aim at the premier.
“Some of them might be able to do so because they're going to be able to organize themselves but again, I would have hoped it would have been sooner,” she said.
Karpontinis said his school's prom won't be quite what students have seen in the past, with a semi-formal event being planned.
“We're trying to balance safety, we're trying to balance our possibilities. At the same time, we want to create something that's going to be memorable for all our students.”
- With reporting from CTV Montreal's Angela Mackenzie