DESE recommends skipping proms

Coronavirus Local Impact
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BOSTON (SHNS) – Updated guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education “strongly recommends” that Massachusetts schools do not hold proms this year and opt instead for “alternative celebrations for seniors.”

“Prom is an inherently high-risk activity, as it is a social gathering that involves dancing and singing (both of which are activities with increased respiration), and also presents concerning opportunities for students to break health and safety protocols in a relaxed environment,” the reads the April 1 update to guidance around student activities and school events.

Schools that do hold proms will be required to follow state safety rules around events, and DESE’s guidance recommends that they delay proms until after the end of the school year, “ideally delaying until such time when most students attending prom will have been vaccinated.”

Sometime this month, Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeff Riley is expected to announce a date when high schoolers must return to full-time in-person learning, with districts provided at least two weeks’ notice. Most middle schoolers are due back in classrooms by April 28.

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