COVID Health Officials Warn About Upcoming High School Proms, Graduations

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COVID-19 rates are once again rising in the Bay Area and that has the attention of schools preparing for prom and graduation.

Marin County health officials are hoping schools will add a few requirements for those events, including proof of vaccination and mask requirements. 

“We have proms, we have graduations and the social gatherings that go along with those at the same time we’re seeing more transmission mainly fueled by the BA.2 variant at those gatherings,” said Dr. Matt Willis. 

The Marin County Public Health officer sent a letter to the school community where his department outlines reported outbreaks related to post spring break exposures and larger indoor events that didn't require masks.

Officials also warn that we could see cases rise further if schools don't consider some minor changes.

“Right now we’re seeing six total in the hospital, none in the ICU so we need to be careful not to overreact to case counts themselves but at the same time have our eyes open to the fact that the virus is flowing in our community we are seeing cases and we know what to do to protect ourselves,” said Willis.

The recommendations include asking students to take same-day rapid antigen COVID tests before going to any indoor event with 50 or more people, then testing again after an event.

The department is also recommending schools consider requiring proof of a negative test, vaccine verification and a mask for any prom or large indoor graduation ceremony.

“We thought it was important to remind our community of the measures that we can take so when we do gather we can do it as safely as possible,” said Willis. 

Ken Lippi, the deputy superintendent of schools at the Marin County Office of Education said they’ll echo the suggestions, but will leave it to each district to make the final decision. 

“We have great practice for disseminating this kind of information. We have been doing it for over two years,” said Lippi. “We will be encouraging our schools and all of those who work with our schools to take them seriously and implement them as much as possible.”

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