Although the desire for area high school seniors to hold Prom has intensified with students returning to full in-person learning, the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) has not changed its guidance on proms. DESE earlier this month strongly discouraged schools from hosting them, citing the continued risk by students and staff of exposure to COVID.
Specifically, the DESE guidelines say, “Prom is an inherently high-risk activity, as it is a social gathering that involves dancing and singing (both of which are activities with increased respiration), and also presents concerning opportunities for students to break health and safety protocols in a relaxed environment.”
Keeping DESE concerns in mind, Natick High’s 400+ seniors instead of a traditional prom will enjoy a semi-formal senior dinner, which will take place on June 1 at 7pm on Memorial Field. The outdoor fun will include dinner catered by local restaurants, DJ music, a hypnotist, laser tag, a PTSO sponsored raffle and more. The event will mark the first time the Class of 2021 will celebrate together over a year.
Masks and safety protocols will be enforced at the outdoor events. Although Natick’s COVID vaccination rate continues to climb, with over 67% of its population having had least 1 dose, up from 62% a week ago, only 9% of Natick residents aged 0-19 are partially vaxxed. Anyone aged 16 and older who lives, works, or studies in Massachusetts is eligible to get vaccinated.
Two days after Prom, the Class of 2021 will hold its graduation rehearsal and senior picnic, also on Memorial Field. Food trucks and COVID-safe games will be part of the year-end events.
And then, finally, graduation will take place on Fri., June 4th, 7pm, at Memorial Field, with a Sun., June 6th, 7pm rain date. Grads can have five guests, and only immediate households may sit together. Family pods will sit six feet apart from other pods per DESE graduation safety standards.
Last year’s senior were feted in a car parade that streamed through town in May, and a late-summer graduation ceremony took place at Memorial Field.