NEW YORK (WPIX) — Before New York City high school students find a dress, a tux or a date, they need to handle one thing: getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
That’s according to the New York Department of Education, which is only allowing vaccinated individuals to attend prom and athletic competitions. The city isn’t budging on the policy, even though unvaccinated students aren’t barred from attending city schools regularly.
“They don’t care,” senior Jade Mendez said. The unvaccinated student has already purchased a $110 ticket to the dance, and has been eyeing a gown she wants to wear.
Garrett Morgan Jr., the student body president at Long Island City High School, said many of his peers have come to him asking “what’s the plan for prom,” only to be disappointed when they discover they’ll have to sit it out. He said he’s begging the city not to let students — who have dealt with two years of pandemic-era schooling — miss out on another life experience.
“We want to have a high school experience,” he said. “A full high school experience. We’ve lost two years already.”
The Department of Education said the city is “excited” school dances are back and “permitted for our vaccinated students, adding the possibility of allowing unvaccinated students to attend prom could be revisited in the future.
“If you are letting them come to school unvaccinated and unmasked, what is the difference … if they’re dancing around at prom?” Kiera Richardson, the mother of a high school student, asked.
City data shows only 56% of New York City kids between 5 and 17 years old are fully vaccinated.