In a bid to return to normalcy after what they say has been “an incredibly tiring year,” a group of Wellesley High School seniors has put together a change.org petition urging the administration to allow Prom to go forward.
Their ask, via the petition: “We would love to see the upper-level administration in Wellesley and Dr. Lussier to give the seniors the prom they have looked forward too, or at the very least give give reconsideration to the matter, finally including the opinions and perspectives of the seniors that their decision directly effects.”
Although the desire to hold Prom has intensified with students returning to full in-person learning, WHS Principal Jamie Chisum points out that the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) has not changed its guidance on proms. DESE earlier this month strongly discouraged schools from hosting them, citing the continued risk by students and staff of exposure to COVID.
Specifically, the DESE guidelines say, “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.”
DESE recommends that schools offer alternative celebrations for seniors, but leaves a window open by saying, “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.”
People age 16 and older who live, work, or study in Massachusetts can get vaccinated.