Senior students facing uncertainty amid coronavirus outbreak


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — For many people in the Mid-South, senior year in high school is considered one of the best times of their life. Usually, students are picking out what they’re going to wear to prom, where they plan to go for their senior trip and what’s next after they walk across the stage at graduation.

For this year, students like Nakiya Primer may not get any of those opportunities anytime soon.

“It is what it is. We’re not going to have the experience that other seniors have had and we’re just going to have to deal with it. There’s nothing we can do about it.”

She said when the Shelby County School District first announced classes would be delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak, she was excited to have an extra week off. When the dates kept getting pushed back and businesses started to close, that’s when it hit her how serious the situation was.

“A lot of us were still excited and some of were concerned because April 6th is really close to prom and prom is April 11th.”

The school district says schools will remain closed until further notice leaving Primer with several questions. She said she’s spent nearly $1,000 on everything from senior fees, her cap and gown for graduation, senior pictures and her prom dress – which she had custom made.

“She realized that they’re pushing back prom and it could possibly be cancelled but she doesn’t do refunds because she pays for the material.”

That’s not her only concern. Primer said she takes classes at her school that can go towards college credit. In order to get the credits, she has to pass an exam. That exam – like everything else- is still up in the air.

Primer said she tries to be optimistic about the situation, but said it still gets her down knowing that she may miss out on what so many look forward to.

“It’s kind of hard on me, myself and other seniors, because we have to watch what we say,” said Primer. “We can’t be selfish but at the same time it is really hard for us.”

Shelby County School District officials said they are aware of the frustrations students are facing. Proms are postponed and all extracurricular activities are canceled during the closure.

They are currently working through several graduation scenarios and will share a plan by Monday, March 30.

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