Connecticut is receiving an additional 288,000 COVID-19 vaccines this week, according to Governor Ned Lamont. With people 16 years old and older now eligible, the governor said soon he will start planning for parades, graduations and proms.
“If you're going to school, you got your cohort of friends, I would like to think we can have a nice prom this spring,” Lamont said.
NBC Connecticut spoke with Glastonbury Public Schools Superintendent Alan Bookman about it.
“I think that all plans are tentative right now,” Bookman said.
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The district is planning to have in-person graduation, according to Bookman.
“We would love to have gradation outside on our grounds, which we usually have. However, we’re not quite sure. If things stay the way they are right now and we don’t have vaccinations, we will probably do graduation in two shifts. Maybe two in one day, where we traditionally do it at 6:30, we might have a 4 o’clock graduation and a 6:30, where we have half the class in one and half the class in the other and we would probably be able to give four seats to each of the graduates,” said Bookman.
One of the two main things driving his decision is knowing there are new variants of COVID-19 circulating that doctors say could spread more easily. It’s a concern as Glastonbury plans to bring back all sixth-through twelfth-grade students full-time following spring break.
At the same time, Bookman has also been thinking about vaccinations for teens 16 and older.
Glastonbury schools reached out to Hartford Healthcare to see if they could arrange a clinic for high school students, but Bookman said the healthcare provider is waiting to see how the state wants to proceed in assigning providers to different districts. All of this has influenced Bookman’s decision to most likely not have a senior ball this year.
“There does not seem to be the possibility. Unless vaccines are given to all of the students, there does not seem to be the possibility of having any kind of venue for 500-plus. When you have a senior ball and bring dates and everything else you may have 700 people there. That’s not permissible under the state rules as far as COVID is concerned and it’s not even safe, so the answer is definitely not as far as having any place that will accommodate them.”
Other school districts like Berlin Public Schools have moved forward with plans. The district sent a letter to parents stating there will be a senior ball at Cascade Fine Catering in Hamden. The plan is to have prom outside under tents. Only students in the class of 2021 can attend, no other grades or outside guests.
Berlin High School’s graduation will be outside at Sage Park at 5 p.m. on June 11.
Bristol Public Schools plans to release more details about its year-end activities for seniors by next week.
Lamont says he plans to announce further guidance soon.