Prom decisions lack COVID safety

Staff Editorial

Juniors are preparing themselves for prom next month. Among the scrambling to get the perfect outfit and secure dates, a more overlooked issue could soon to pose a real threat: A crowded room with up to 800 students is simply a hotspot for COVID-19. 

The district’s decision about how to control the spread of the virus during prom creates a greater concern for some students aboutthe safety of prom. 

Regardless of vaccination status, the school is allowing anyone to attend prom. An unvaccinated student, or one who is not fully vaccinated, has a higher risk for contracting and spreading COVID.

And it is likely these students will be present at prom.

Yes, they will be limited to enjoying the event from outside of Lake Chalet, where prom is being hosted in Oakland. But students without proof of vaccination will be permitted to go indoors to only access restrooms. All food and drinks will be available outside.

In spite of these rules mandated by Alameda County – which follows different protocols that Contra Costa County – it is unclear how administrators will keep track of unvaccinated students remaining outdoors for the entirety of prom. Of course, many will want to socialize inside after they spent their money for the event. 

If there’s no one closely monitoring prom, any student will easily be able to go inside the venue regardless of their vaccination status. If this happens, there will be increased exposure for students, allowing for a higher risk of COVID spreading. 

If school administrators attempt to effectively prevent this from happening, there must be adult supervisors alert at all times about the whereabouts of the unvaccinated students. 

This means overseeing them  possibly communicating with others inside the venue and, most importantly, keeping their masks on at all times.

 Everyone’s health is at risk if we do not ensure unvaccinated students are following Alameda Co. guidelines. Prom would not be a fun place to catch anxiety about getting COVID, let alone catch the virus itself. 

It is unfair for students who are fully vaccinated and healthy to be exposed to other student who may not be. It’s encouraging to see administrators announce last week that unvaccinated students will need and medical exemption and proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of prom to enjoy prom indoors.

This will help ensure safety for the rest of the students at prom. 

These policies are what is best for the majority of students, and could even encourage unvaccinated students to get vaccinated.

Prom is a monumental moment in high school and we can’t expect less than the best for us to enjoy. COVID is something that cannot be disregarded during this time and should be taken into account as a main factor in planning prom.