New York City Mayor Eric Adams along with Schools Chancellor David C. Banks announced the lifting of COVID-19 vaccine mandates for public school prom celebrations.
In consultation with the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), Adams and Banks said that with the combination of NYC’s gold standard health and safety efforts, fully vaccinated staff and the continued care and resilience of NYC public schools, students will be able to attend their respective school prom dances.
“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,” said Mayor Adams during the May 9 announcement. “Vaccinations got us to where we are today, so I want to thank the millions of New Yorkers who went out and got vaccinated, doing their part to keep our city safe. I encourage anyone who hasn’t yet gotten vaccinated to do so, and to all of our students, congratulations!”
The announcement is credited to the success of the Stay Safe and Stay Open plan implemented by the mayor and the Department of Education (DOE). Guests who plan on attending prom are encouraged to wear masks.
The vaccine requirements for attending graduation were previously lifted, and the decision to lift the restrictions for prom is an additional step the DOE and City Hall will take to ensure that students get to experience and celebrate their accomplishments.
“We’re happy that young people will be able to celebrate this joyous, and one-time, milestone,” said New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “Vaccinations remain a lifesaving tool. Masks worn indoors continue to reduce risk of transmission. But another critical resource for health is togetherness and celebration — for which these events are so critical in the lives of young people.”
COVID-19 testing will be strongly encouraged before attending any events, with the DOE providing at-home testing as well as high-quality masks for students.
“The health and safety of our students and staff is, and has been, my top priority,” said Chancellor Banks. “Graduation and prom are such momentous occasions in the lives of our young people, which is why I am so excited that thanks to the hard work of our school communities, we have come to a point where we can safely take this next step.”