LI school prom will have different rules for vaxxed and unvaxxed teens
28th May 2021

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This is what a pandemic prom looks like under New York state guidelines.

Forget popular kids and dorks — seniors at one Long Island high school dance will be divided by whether they are vaccinated or unvaccinated against COVID-19, The Post has learned.

Port Washington High School will be hosting the 500-person event — dubbed the “Gambol” — at the tony Village Clubs of Sandpoint on June 27.

The school said that, per state and CDC guidelines, kids who are vaccinated will be able to attend maskless — while those who aren’t will need to wear a face covering.

Students will need to show proof of inoculation to attend mask-free, and will be given wristbands to signify they’ve gotten the jab, Dr. Ira Pernick, the school’s principal, said in a video sent to the senior class this week and seen by The Post.

In addition to wearing masks, those who haven’t been vaccinated will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before the party, Pernick said.

“We have to comply with [state guidelines] and we ask that everybody else comply with them as well and again I appreciate your understanding and your patience,” Pernick said in the video, filmed on Monday.

One parent, whose kid isn’t vaccinated and isn’t planning on attending the prom, was livid when she realized there would be different rules for inoculated students — saying everyone should wear masks.

“I don’t think they should be singling out kids whose parents don’t want them to get the vaccine,” said the mom, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“I think it should be an even playing field… all or nothing,” she told The Post on Thursday.

But other teens were just grateful for any sort of dance, after proms statewide were canceled last spring at the height of the pandemic.

“They’re doing what they have to do so we can have a prom. What did last year’s senior’s get?!” one student said.

Tickets were $130 a pop for the event, which will include dinner, dancing and a raffle. One student said the event would be held in tents outside, but the school didn’t immediately confirm that.

It’s unclear exactly how the dancing will work, and it’s possible student will only be allowed to shimmy around their own tables, based on the current guidelines.

According to state rules, unvaccinated individuals must sit six feet apart in assigned sections at large events, but neither the school nor the venue responded to questions about whether that would be required.

Dr. Michael Hynes, superintendent of the Port Washington Union Free School District, said the year-end celebration was adhering to all state Health Department and federal rules.

“The health and safety of our students, staff and community are the Port Washington School District’s foremost priorities,” Hynes said in a statement. “The district is in close contact with local and state health officials and will continue to regularly monitor any changes in guidance.”

The state Health Department didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Additional reporting by Tamar Lapin

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