ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — All Florida students will be e-learning through the end of this school year and for many students, the decision made by Gov. Ron DeSantis was difficult to hear.
For seniors, it was devastating.
With prom, graduation and a chance to say goodbye to friends and teachers on the line, seniors are overwhelmed but not surprised by the decision.
“So I think it’s the right decision, it’s just not something enjoyable, it just has to be like that," said Savari Datta, a senior at Sickles High School.
"I just wish that we knew, you know this is going to be your last day, say your goodbyes," said Lelia Dent, a senior at Sunlake High School. "People you’ve known for 12 years and have grown up with, you’re not going to be able to say goodbye before your summer and going to college and parting ways.
"And I think that’s really hard for a lot of us to process."
Seniors also having a hard time processing that major milestones will most likely be missed.
“A lot of people already bought their prom dresses and they are non-refundable, you can’t return them. And a lot of people already made alterations to them and it’s really sad," said Susannah Gerteisen, a senior at Sickles High School. "Because everybody looks forward to their senior prom, and going. And now we are not going to have that.”
There's been no promise of any proms being rescheduled.
“My prom was supposed to late March and I got a text from the boutique where I bought my dress and it was like, ‘How was your event?’ and I saw the text and I just started sobbing," Dent said.
Some are also frustrated with other academic adjustments. AP tests are still happening, but the hours-long test has been significantly shortened.
"I have to study a year’s worth of material for a 45-minute test that originally was four hours. So it kinda feels like with this whole thing happening, the last year has been kind of wasted," said Mauricio Vinueza, a senior at Steinbrenner High School.
His disappointment extending past testing, wondering what graduation will hold.
“Since I started school the whole point was to graduate. I mean I am graduating, but it’s not real anymore," Vinueza said. "I feel like we are going to do some like online graduation at this point. I am going to have to print out my own diploma. Which, I don’t know, that makes the 12 years, 13 years I’ve been doing school kind of seem pointless.”
Most school districts in our area are still hoping to host an in-person graduation, and some are looking to host prom in the summer. But everything depends on how quickly the state reopens and how guidelines adjust.
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