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The novel coronavirus pandemic has prompted many closures and cancellations, including the postponement of Gainesville High School’s senior prom.

Superintendent DesMontes Stewart told members of the Gainesville Independent School District Board of Trustees this week that senior prom has been postponed since large gatherings are not currently allowed at the Gainesville Civic Center, 311 S. Weaver St. Prom was originally scheduled for Saturday, April 18, he said.

Stewart did say the district is working to reschedule if at all possible as to not “rob” seniors of their “last big activity” before graduation.

He said there is a tentative date, but it is dependent on the status of COVID-19, the disease that’s caused by the new coronavirus.

The date was not announced during the prom discussion at an emergency called school board meeting Wednesday, March 18, at the Gainesville ISD Administration Building, 800 S. Morris St.

On Thursday, March 19, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered all schools to remain closed until April 3.

The district’s graduation ceremony is also up in the air, school officials said.

As of press time, federal, state and local officials recommended no more than 10 people be at any social gatherings to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

“We have a couple thousand people in attendance at our graduation,” Stewart said. “We will be working very closely with UNT [University of North Texas] but also operating under the guidelines of local and regional health experts to insure that what we are doing is in the best interest of our community.”

He also said all required testing before graduation has been waived because of COVID-19.

The district will be having ongoing discussions about prom and graduation as leaders continue to monitor the progress of the ongoing health emergency, Stewart said.

Follow the Gainesville Daily Register online for updates throughout the day as the situation surrounding the new coronavirus is developing.

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