Remember when high-schoolers would cross state borders for alcohol or other adult fun? In the age of COVID, they do it just to have a traditional social gathering. Last week, students of Illinois’ Lincoln-Way East High School crossed into Indiana to hold the prom they couldn’t have last spring.
With no sanction from the school district, students raised money, sold tickets, and organized a private prom at an orchard in Hobart, a small town in northwest Indiana.
They crossed the line because allowances for social gatherings are much larger in Indiana than in Chicago’s southwest suburbs. At least 250 people attended the prom, but contact tracing since the event indicates the crowd was probably larger.
Now health officials in the Frankfort, Illinois area are monitoring COVID-19 numbers carefully. They have seen an uptick in cases recently, but it is not possible to tie the increase directly to the prom. Officials in northwest Indiana have taken steps in recent weeks to close down public spaces, like beaches, that attract out-of-state visitors.