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COVID-19: CT Releases Guidance For Proms, Graduations

As graduation and proms near, state officials have issued guidelines on how to handle them during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As graduation and proms near, state officials have issued guidelines on how to handle them during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo Credit: Pexels/Emmily Ranquist

As the end of the school year grows near and students are dreaming of proms and graduation ceremonies, Connecticut state officials have released guidelines on how to limit the spread of COVID-19.

State officials from the Department of Education and Department of Public Health have released a three-page document, that stresses the importance of many of the key preventions that have been in place for the past year including mask-wearing, social distancing, hand sanitizing, and limiting groups size for events.

They are also asking school districts to have rapid contact tracing in place and to be ready to ask students to quarantine in case anyone tests positive.

Some other measures required including no food or drinks so attendees can keep their masks on.

"For proms or other similar events, times when masks are removed to eat or drink represent the period of highest risk for the spread of potentially infectious respiratory droplets," officials said.

They suggest allowing breaks or "special" spaces where students can have time with their masks off.

“I would urge the later you can book it, the better. Just give you a little more flexibility in case something untoward happens,” Gov. Ned Lamont said.

The idea behind the governor's statement by giving more times for the events to take place the more students will have been vaccinated and the warmer it will be for an outdoor event.

In addition, the guidelines suggest school officials consider holding graduation events outside and limit the use of tents or other types of enclosures.

Health officials acknowledged that even with the safeguards in place, some may not want to return to large events and should voice their concerns to schools so other alternatives can be considered, if possible.

“Just as the relative isolation of the past year can have effects on mental health, returning to larger gatherings and bigger crowds may result in anxiety,” they said.

Other suggestions included virtual events, such as were held last year and small events in which students can receive their diplomas. 

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