Doubletree set to hold Bedford proms

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Doubletree by Hilton. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

BEDFORD, NH – Bedford High School students will be coming to Manchester over the next two weeks after news earlier this week that the school will hold two indoor proms at the DoubleTree by Hilton.

In a presentation to the Bedford School Board on Monday, Bedford High School Principal Bob Jozokos told the board that unlike normal years, this year will have a pair of proms to reduce cohort size, with one for seniors on May 15 and another for juniors a week later.

As of Monday, 240 seniors and 140 juniors had purchased tickets.

Both proms will be split into two parts. The first portion of the proms will require students to stay at their tables while the second portion will allow students to dance with each other. Students staying for the second portion of the dance will be required to submit their contact information for contact tracing and will be required to quarantine for ten days if any student is found to have contracted COVID-19.

During the presentation on the proms on Monday, it was announced that masks would be required at all times except for eating.

Without specific protocols from the state for high school dances, Jozokos said that safety protocols for contact sports would be followed, joking that dancing is somewhat like a contact sport.

School Board Member John Schneller asked how school administration could prevent students with COVID-19 from concealing their condition and Jozokos said ultimately parents and students are expected to follow the honor system, comparable to student athletes.

At one point, there was a consideration of limiting students to specific areas where they could dance to reducing contact with potentially infected peers, but it was determined this would not be feasible.

Ultimately, Jozokos felt that allowing dancing at the proms was a risk, but he is willing to take that risk and that students also understand that they risk missing other events over the 10 days after the prom by going as well.

“I’m willing to take the risk because this is about their social and emotional health,” he said. “It is very worth it to have the dancing at prom just for their mental health and well-being.”

There was no mention on any discussion of holding the proms outside during the meeting or if tickets would be refunded for students with COVID-19 symptoms who decided to stay home.

An e-mail to Jokozos on Thursday afternoon has not been returned as of Friday afternoon.

Manchester West is holding its prom on Friday night, with plans approved for Manchester’s other high schools, but no dates released as of Friday.


About this Author

Nathan Graziano

Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester with his wife and kids. He's the author of nine collections of fiction and poetry. His most recent book, Born on Good Friday was published by Roadside Press in 2023. He's a high school teacher and freelance writer, and in his free time, he writes bios about himself in the third person. For more information, visit his website: