There’s a lot of talk about the COVID vaccine and how it might get you into a movie theater or concert by way of a “passport.”
But what about a prom?
In New Hampshire recently, roughly 300 teens found out.
As reported by the Boston Herald, Exeter High School’s big event was held outside on school property June 4th.
Prior to the dance — via a website — the school laid down the law.
Firstly, if you were planning to stay in the tent, find the person with the best eyes in school and ask ’em out:
Masks will be worn in the tent at prom. … [T]here will be a giant tent with dance floors, games in the stadium, a photo station full decorations and the premiere of the senior slide show.
Or you could go all the way on prom night and see your date’s full nose and mouth.
And stay away:
Other than that, this is an outdoor, socially distanced event and no longer requires masks.
Get ready for all that non-touching lovin’:
Safety: This is a socially distant event. Masks must be worn at all times. Students are allowed to dance and socialize, but not touch. Hand sanitizer will be provided at all locations.
Exeter included a section on “Contact Tracing”:
Students will social distance during all events at the prom. Because we are allowing students to dance, it is not the expectation that students will social distance while dancing. There are three dance floors and students who are on each floor will be recorded at regular intervals. It is suggested that students rotate dance floors in order to avoid close contact with other students. It is essential that students comply with this contact tracing process. Students who do not comply will not be allowed to dance and may be asked to leave the prom early.
If you “rotate dance floors” doesn’t that only put you in proximity to more people, not fewer?
Either way, the prom ended up mired by a controversy that drew comparison to the Holocaust.
Attendees got quite the surprise when they arrived: They were asked to report their vaccine status.
The sheep were soon separated from the goats.
Those who hadn’t received a full two-shot coronavirus vaccine had their hands marked.
Courtesy of a school statement in the aftermath, here’s how the romantic system worked:
Students who were unable to provide a vaccination card because they did not have or share a card or had not completed the full vaccination process had a number written on their hand. Dancing was divided among three dance floors. During the dancing, after every few songs they were asked to raise their hands to determine who they were around.
Fast-forward to what State Rep. Melissa Litchfield has called “angry” messages written to her by constituents.
She took to Facebook about the ordeal.
The following are provided quotes from some of the critics:
“Was pretty fired up today after learning that kids who weren’t vaccinated had a number written on them in Sharpie at the EHS prom last night.”
“[T]he school could be looking at lawsuits for violation of Hippa rights. They have no business asking for a vaccine card.”
“We truly feel they are literally branding our kids if they don’t get this experiential ’emergency’ approved vaccine.”
“[W]e will brand you with the Scarlet Letter for all the kids to see. I hope, and I am sure you will bring this to the [school board] and higher if need be. This should NEVER been allowed…”
And even this:
“[Exeter] was allowed to treat the kids like prisoners in Nazi Germany. Marking them, thus singling them out, and then having to raise their hands is beyond tolerable.”
One faultfinder reportedly found a list:
“They also left the list of student names (first and last) with the info on whether they were vaccinated or not on a table outside after the prom. I found it the next morning. This information should 1. Not have been shared and 2. Should never be left where anyone can have access to it. I have a photo of the list.”
In response, Exeter High released a Thursday statement.
“[W]e needed to have a contact tracing system in place,” it explained. “All students were notified about this and as they registered, they were asked for vaccination information.”
The school asserted that “background information on the prom was provided through a dedicated website.”
Still, nothing of markers had been mentioned.
“No contract tracing system is perfect for crowds this large,” it offered in defense.
[W]ithout a contact tracing system, all attendees would have had to be quarantined if there was a positive case tied back to the event.
Exeter insisted it hadn’t kept a list of the numbers assigned to students, and that “only a single set of cards with this information exists for tracking purposes and the class advisor was the only individual that possessed them. Those cards will be destroyed in the next few days.”
Principal Mike Monahan also addressed the privacy concerns:
“We are aware that some concerns have been expressed that students were singled out or had their privacy violated. We made every effort possible – while adhering to contact tracing guidelines – to ensure that this did not happen.”
Per the Herald, New Hampshire School Administrative Unit 16 Superintendent David Ryan issued a statement as well:
“We take these concerns very seriously and as a result, we will be conducting an internal audit of the processes that the school developed and used at prom.”
No matter, Rep. Melissa’s on a fact-finding mission.
“If anyone has any further information,” she wrote, “I would very much appreciate it. There has been much talk at the State level regarding vaccination status and confidentiality.
We’re living in strange times — so strange that teens are marked over a virus at least one study determined they’re unlikely to transmit at school. And from which they are largely safe.
0-19 years: 0.00003
20-49 years: 0.0002
50-69 years: 0.005
70+ years: 0.054
But so goes 2021, which — in some ways — appears to perhaps be an extension of 2020.
Class of ’21, you have my sympathies.
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