Wadena-Deer Creek juniors and seniors will still be able to dance their prom night away—in pods of six.

“We’ll just have to monitor that all night and make sure that we don’t have big groups getting together to dance, so that’ll be a little bit of a challenge but we’ll make it work,” said Tyler Church, middle/high school principal. “We’ve already talked to the kids and they’re ‘Hey, as long as we get to have a dance and have prom, we’ll do what we’re supposed to do.’”

The pods idea follows the Minnesota Department of Health guidance on holding prom during a pandemic. The idea is similar to when sports practices resumed in summer 2020, where students remained in the same pod to limit exposure. Students at prom will be able to dance in groups of up to six—the same six people all night. Church said the smaller groups won’t be an issue as students usually aren’t all out there dancing at the same time.

“When we’ve had prom here the last 5, 10 years it just seems like fewer and fewer kids actually do the dancing, they’re more there to sit down and have the social piece,” Church said.

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If you’re wondering just when you can see these students all dressed up, that’ll be April 24 with an in-person and livestreamed grand march. Each couple will receive three to four tickets for up to 250 guests. Students will head down and back up the runway with their masks on but are able to remove them for their shining picture moment. The grand march will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the gym.

“Other than masking and being in smaller pods throughout the night the plan is to try to keep it as normal as possible,” Church said.

Students will be able to enjoy food at tables in the commons during prom and likely have individually packaged food items during the post-prom activities, according to Church. MDH guidance suggests not having food from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. The post-prom activities from midnight to 3 a.m. will include escape rooms, volleyball, spike ball, corn hole and loads of prizes.

While planning has often been shifted by updated guidance, the hosting of a dance to some degree has been the school’s goal. Prom was canceled last year due to the pandemic.

“They’re just happy that there’s something that’s going to happen,” Church said.