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Massachusetts Department of Secondary Education: Schools should not have proms

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The Massachusetts Department of Secondary Education feeling on holding proms? Don’t do it.

The DSE issued updated guidance concerning the pastime and what rules are to be followed.

“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. Therefore, after consultation with our medical advisors, DESE strongly recommends that schools do not have proms and instead substitute alternative celebrations for seniors”.

“If schools do choose to hold proms, it is strongly recommended that they delay the prom until after the end of the school year, ideally delaying until such time when most students attending prom will have been vaccinated.”

If schools do hold proms, they must follow guidance which includes:

• Require face coverings for all workers and attendees, except where an individual is unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability

• The host of an indoor event at a private residence must limit the number of attendees at all times to no more than 10 persons

• The host of an outdoor event at a private residence (such as a backyard) must limit the number of attendees at all times to no more than 25 persons

• The host of an indoor event held at an event venue (e.g., hotels, private clubs, and space available for lease) or in a public setting (e.g., public parks) must limit the number of attendees at all times to no more than 100 persons

• For outdoor events held at an event venue (e.g., hotels, private clubs, and space available for lease) or in a public setting (e.g., public parks) a host must limit the number of attendees at all times to no more than 150 persons

• Occupancy counts in all cases must include all attendees, but may exclude event staff or other workers.

• In addition to the capacity restrictions specified above, all participants in indoor and outdoor gatherings, including gatherings at private residences, must maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance whenever possible.

• An event will violate these capacity limits where, regardless of the actual number of attendees, it is not reasonably possible for all participants regularly to maintain 6 feet of separation

• Ensure separation of 6 feet or more between individuals

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