New York City public school students can attend their proms without showing proof of vaccination, city officials announced Monday.
About 57% of high school students are vaccinated, according to a Chalkbeat analysis of city data from late February, so the move will significantly increase the share of students who are eligible to attend.
Students are recommended, but not required, to wear a “high-quality” mask at prom and graduation, city officials said.
“I am thrilled that, starting this year, every one of our young people will have the chance to celebrate all of their hard work with a prom and graduation, regardless of vaccination status,” Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement.
The announcement came after a group of City Council members sent a letter Sunday to Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan criticizing the rule on the grounds that students are not required to be vaccinated or wear masks to attend school and such requirements have been lifted in many other settings, the New York Post reported.
Officials said they “strongly” encourage students to take at-home COVID tests before large gatherings such as proms and graduations. The city has recently started sending home four rapid tests per child each week.
Still, if a graduation or prom is held at a private venue that requires COVID vaccines, students must show proof of vaccination to enter. And guests who attend graduation ceremonies in school buildings must also show proof that they’ve been inoculated.
Alex Zimmerman is a reporter for Chalkbeat New York, covering NYC public schools. Contact Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org.