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Students rejoice over New York City's decision to drop vaccine mandate to attend prom

NYC students react to prom update
NYC students react to prom update 02:14

NEW YORK -- An important milestone in many teenagers' lives is coming back to the city in full force. Mayor Eric Adams has dropped the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for prom.

CBS2's John Dias has more on what this means and how students are reacting.

It was a typical Tuesday at Louis D. Brandeis High School on the Upper West Side. And after two years of uncertainty due to the pandemic, ordinary is what students are looking forward to when prom comes next month.

"I'm pretty excited for it," senior Jahiem Robinson said.

"We are going to be on a boat. It's going to be very nice," senior Juliedi Arias added.

Just Monday, the city dropped its COVID vaccine mandate for proms city-wide, meaning all students can go despite their vaccine status. That is, unless it's at a private facility. If that's the case, it's subjected to the facility's requirements.

This comes as cases are on the rise. As of May 9, the city's positivity rate is 8.23 percent.

"You grow up and that's something you look forward to and it just feels like I'm being able to do something every girl wishes they could do," senior Lillian Tate said.

Tate is well aware that the last two graduating classes didn't have this opportunity, so she won't take it for granted.

"That's mostly important to me, taking a lot of pictures, make sure I can remember that day," Tate said.

Students were previously told they could attend graduation regardless of vaccination, but not prom. However, the mayor's office says guests attending graduation are still required to be vaccinated in order to attend in a school building.

"I encourage anyone who hasn't yet gotten vaccinated to do so, and to all of our students, congratulations!" Adams said in a statement.

But the reversal on prom is coming with backlash. Some say it should have always been this way.

"You can't give teenagers mixed messages," Dr. Dyan Hes said.

Hes, a pediatrician, said all teenagers should already be vaccinated, but added what's also important is being consistent with messaging.

"New York City hasn't been mandating that kids have a vaccine to attend school, so why would they start mandating you have to have a vaccine to attend prom? It doesn't make sense," Hes said.

When it comes to prom and graduation, the city strongly recommends students wear face masks.

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