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Kansas City-area teens, businesses eager for return of prom season

Dance cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic
Prom Dresses
Posted at 4:23 PM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 18:18:56-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — COVID-19 canceled high school proms in 2020, but some Kansas City metro school districts are allowing the dance to go on this year.

Leemu Masah, an Oak Park High School senior, said North Kansas City School District leaders talked about the possibility of prom, so students were looking forward to it "because everything else got canceled."

"This is really special," Masah said. "This is something I have been looking forward to since my freshman year and seeing a lot of my upperclassmen friends do it."

NKC Schools will allow only seniors to attend the dance, and administrators at each school still are working on COVID-19 safety protocols that will be in line with Clay County and Kansas City, Missouri, guidelines.

"Since this is the big thing, everyone is going to take it seriously," Masah said.

Last year, students got creative, celebrating prom in driveways in Lawrence and in backyard celebrations.

The return of the traditional senior-class event also is a coup for local businesses like Mimi's Prom. Victoria Deleo, part owner of Mimi's Prom, said she is beyond grateful to have teens shop for dresses. The shop first opened in February 2020, but quickly lost business due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It was just a shock, like, is this even real life?" Deleo said.

Now, teens are buying gowns around the clock.

"2021 has been much better," Deleo said. "I would say we have been selling proms since January and honestly every weekend, every Saturday, every Sunday, we are fully booked."

Even though prom will look different, students like Masah are happy to be able to go.

"I am really thankful that we have this opportunity," Masah said. "I know a lot of schools, they don't even have a choice even to be in school at all. So, to have prom at all is really exciting and is something I am thankful for."

The Lawrence School District said "our high schools are working with students to plan outdoor activities for 'prom.'"

Shawnee Mission School District High School leaders are drafting plans to move forward with "some kind of a modified prom, but nothing has been finalized yet."

Olathe Schools have not made a final decision.

A Lee's Summit School District plan is still in the works, and the district is not ready to announce those details.

Johnson County, KS
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