Some local pols claimed Sunday that the city has definitively decided to bar unvaccinated public-school students from prom — even as City Hall denied a decision had been made.
The group of five Republican and two Democratic City Council members issued a letter to city Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan on Sunday arguing that barring unvaccinated kids from prom blatantly contradicts other Big Apple COVID-19 policies.
“It has come to our attention that a final decision by the Department of Education has been made to exclude unvaccinated students from their school proms, and that you and your staff were the proponents of this policy,” the politicians wrote.
Unvaccinated students are currently barred from all extra-curricular school activities, including prom.
Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island), who was among the group signing the letter, told The Post that some of the council members were informed by principals that the vaccine mandate would be enforced. He added that he personally was told by a top city Department of Education official that the Health Department won’t sign off any changes to the policy in time for prom.
He and the other council members called on Vasan to “explain the science behind his decision” involving prom — given that the same pupils “are permitted to attend school unmasked and unvaccinated,” while unvaxxed people can go to bars and other public venues in the city.
“Since restaurants and catering facilities are no longer required to verify vaccination status, why would an otherwise eligible group of people be barred from entering [a prom] simply because it is organized by a school?” the letter said. “Please, explain to us where the danger lies and how it differentiates from any other group entering a catering facility, or how catering facilities pose a more significant threat to students than their school buildings.”
But a rep for Mayor Eric Adams on Sunday said the claim that a final decision about prom had been made was “not true” — and that his administration agrees with the council members’ concerns.
“The mayor’s health team has been meeting with the DOE to evaluate how all New York City students can have a safe and memorable prom this spring,” said spokeswoman Kate Smart.
“We agree that it makes little sense to have different rules at prom versus in the classroom and will have more to say in the coming days.”
Borelli noted that many schools have already passed their deadlines to buy tickets.
“What part isn’t true? The policy was updated on the DOE page three weeks ago, and the deadline for prom tickets at many schools has already passed,” he told The Post. “We have been seeking a change of this for two months, speaking repeatedly with the DOE.”
City Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R-Queens), who also signed the letter and is a member of the council’s Health Committee, said she plans to grill Vasan about the prom decision at a May 18 budget hearing if he fails to respond beforehand.
“I would like for the health commissioner to come prepared with the science to support his decision that will exclude the same unvaccinated students who share a classroom with vaccinated students from attending their proms, dances, and after school activities,” she said.