STANLY COUNTY, N.C. — Some Stanly County parents are concerned about the possible spread of the coronavirus at an upcoming dance that was rescheduled because of the start of the pandemic last spring.
Amanda Teal’s daughter is a rising freshman and was looking forward to attending the annual North Stanly Middle School spring fling dance as her final middle school event until the pandemic hit and plans changed.
“It’s like a little prom dance for middle schoolers going to high school,” Teal explained. “We were excited about it. It was supposed to happen at the school, and it was postponed, then postponed again and we haven’t heard anything else about it and all of a sudden, I got this email on Friday.”
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The email sent to Channel 9 anchor Susanna Black shows the dance was rescheduled for Aug. 8 at Tiffany’s at the Boardroom in downtown Albemarle.
It also lists a dress code and a Hollywood theme, but it's what Teal didn't find in the email that led her to contact Channel 9.
"There's no requirements of anything of social distancing guidelines mentioned, and these kids go back to school in two weeks," Teal said. "There's already so much chaos about the kids returning to school. What if it spreads even worse (because of the dance) and then they go to school?"
Teal said she contacted Stanly County Schools and was transferred to the voice mailbox for the North Stanly Middle principal. She has not heard back from district officials.
A Stanly County Schools staff member returned Channel 9′s call and claimed neither the school system nor North Stanly Middle had any knowledge of the Spring Fling Dance being rescheduled.
The employee said that the dance is put on by parents of the eighth-grade class and because it was not being held on school grounds, Stanly County Schools had no say in how it was held.
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"Without it being our function on our school grounds, we cannot control what others are doing," the employee explained.
Channel 9 asked for contact information for the parents in charge of the dance. The district employee said neither the county nor the school knew who to call but said she did not believe that to be an oversight.
"We don't know right now, so we'll have to keep looking," the employee said.
Within minutes of the call, the parent in charge of the dance called Channel 9 after Stanly County Schools reached out to her. That parent said it has nothing to do with the school. The organizer said it is for the North Stanly Middle School eighth-grade class, and the funds raised from ticket sales will be donated to the school.
She also said while she didn’t include COVID-19 precautions in the email, they plan to take students’ temperatures, have hand sanitizer, provide masks to everyone who attends and have a capacity of 60 students who can attend.
When asked if students would be allowed to dance with each other, she said that detail was yet to be finalized.
Teal said she believes the dance is too big a risk for the rising freshman class to take, and she hopes others will rethink sending their children. She said her daughter will not be attending.
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