NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – After students in one New Mexico school district participated in a secret prom, the New Mexico Department of Health and Public Education Department is reiterating to parents and students to be safe in order to protect graduation ceremonies. Las Cruces Public Schools is investigating a “secret prom” that allegedly happened over the weekend. KRQE News 13 asked NMDOH and the NMPED if they are anticipating other events like this state-wide. They say these are super spreader events that violate the public health order.

According to a complaint submitted to the governor’s office, hundreds of students from Mayfield High School may have attended the event which was not sanctioned by the school or the district. District officials have decided to close the high school and return to remote learning for 10 days to mitigate any spread while they investigate.

“This district has lost several staff members to COVID-19. It’s a very serious threat to our community and we have done so much over the last year to protect our staff, to get our students back in the classroom. to advocate for vaccinations and testing. This is just an unfortunate event that counters all of those efforts,” says Kelly Jameson, public information officer, Las Cruces Public Schools.

Last month the NMPED did say the district could host proms and released guidance for how they could happen safely. “We are in prom season and we know that schools have been planning or trying to put together plans for review to have in-person prom. A safely distanced COVID-safe prom. It’s unfortunate, these are time-honored traditions. Proms are very important to our students, they’re important to the staff too,” Jameson says.

The district says they do believe parents were involved in the planning of the event but they say they are not looking to punish students by keeping them from graduation. NMPED says if a district does choose to hold prom the indoor capacity should not exceed the large venue guidance in the public health order. They also recommend keeping small pods of students together during the event.