PED says school districts can have prom but recommends event be outdoors

Coronavirus New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Proms were canceled last year, graduation ceremonies went virtual. Now, the New Mexico Public Education Department says those big high school traditions can happen this year. NMPED says prom is a possibility for high schools statewide, but they are recommending the dance be held outside.

They say if a district does choose to hold prom inside, the indoor capacity should not exceed the large venue guidance in the public health order. Thirty-three percent in a turquoise county, 25% in a green county, and no indoor proms for yellow or red counties.

In a special meeting this week, school leaders in Rio Rancho say their focus right now is planning COVID-safe outdoor graduations. Even though it’s a possibility, prom likely won’t happen for them this year. “When you say that you can do this with graduation other questions start coming up. Assemblies, dances, award assemblies, academic competitions, and extracurricular events. We’re limiting this to the most essential events. So no dances, no assemblies basically. We’re excited that we can have graduation the way that we can have it,” says Renee Saucedo, Secondary School Improvement Officer.

Students at Cleveland High School have come up with an alternative. They are planning a homecoming week with different themed dress-up days and they’re planning to live stream the court coronation during the school day into each classroom. “I know for the seniors I know they really wanted graduation and the poor seniors last year they didn’t even get to have anything. So I think literally anything is better than it was before,” says Junior Aubrey Exum.

For the districts that do go ahead with a prom, PED recommends keeping small pods of students together during the event. KRQE News 13 asked Albuquerque Public Schools if they have specific plans for prom, they tell us they’re focused on kids returning to class on Monday, and holding safe, in-person graduations.

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