WINDSOR, ONT. -- Students will be missing their rite of passage as proms are cancelled for many local schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board made the decision to cancel all high school proms this year.

“Please understand that we do not take this decision lightly, and that it was made in the genuine interest of preventing further spread of COVID-19 amongst our student population and broader community,” said Terry Lyons, WECDSB director of education in a news release.

Although prom has not officially been cancelled for schools in the Greater Essex County District School Board, many students are anticipating this will eventually happen.

“I was very much looking forward to going to prom, although I do understand why it has to be cancelled. I’m not mad about it,” says Jack Macdonald, a grade 12 student at Sandwich Secondary School.

Macdonald will be attending the University of Windsor’s engineering next fall and was hoping to soak up the last few months of high school with his friends.

“The whole last three months of high school is when all the fun stuff happens. It’s good memories that people want to have,” he says.

His classmate Caileigh Jappy is in the same boat, she purchased her prom dress months ago.

“It was something huge to me because I never really go out all dressed up, so I was so happy that I finally get that opportunity,” says Jappy.

The theme for her prom was “Roaring 20’s”, she was planning attending with a big group of friends.

“I’m kind of devastated, but I understand the reasons why,” she says.

Jappy hopes prom will be postponed rather than cancelled. If the celebrations are cancelled indefinitely, she plans are hosting her own get-together once physical distancing restrictions are loosened.

“We’re going to wait until we can have people over at our houses and hang out in person,” she says. “A lot of my friends are just like we miss each other so much.”Kelly Nichol

Butterfield Limousine service usually receives 10 to 20 bookings this time of the year to transport students to prom in style.

“We had a couple cancel this week, a couple last week. We had some call us last month just in case,” says Kelly Nichol Butterfield Limousine coordinator.

Nichol has adjusted the refund policy to give students a full refund on cancellations for their milestone moment.