N.S. schools receive green light to organize grad ceremonies but not proms
HALIFAX -- Schools in Nova Scotia received the green light to organize graduation ceremonies for students this year.
Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin announced the news on Tuesday, stating that approval was given by public health thanks to Nova Scotians' adherence to public health guidelines.
Rankin said schools will have guidelines to follow to ensure gathering limits and public health protocols are being followed.
"Students, staff and families will be there, will be able to gather in small groups in schools to recognize student achievement and success," said Rankin during a news conference on Tuesday. "This is a large undertaking that will span several days for many schools."
Currently, indoor gatherings in Nova Scotia are restricted to 50 per cent of a venues capacity, up to 100 people. Outdoor gatherings can have a maximum of 150 people.
According to Rankin, secondary schools will be closing one week early in order to accommodate the graduation ceremonies.
The last day of regular classes for secondary schools in the province will now be June 11, with student exams beginning the following week.
More details about how graduations will take place will be provided at a local level from schools at a later date.
As far as prom, Rankin says schools in the province will not be organizing those celebrations this year. He says the province's main focus is to make graduation ceremonies as special as they can be.
However, Rankin is allowing parent groups to organize their own prom ceremonies, "as long as they follow public health guidelines, including gathering limits."
Natalie Boyles has a teen who is in high school. She feels the premier and public health didn't give parents enough time to plan a safe prom ceremony, even if they wanted to.
"To leave this a month-and-a-half for the parents now to pick up the pieces doesn't give us much time," said Boyles.
Mackenzie Martin is a high school student in Halifax. She says she was looking forward to wearing her new dress to prom but now she is out hundreds of dollars.
"I'm just kind of frustrated and upset about it," said Martin. "I feel like our school hasn't said anything to us."
Martin says she and other students were upset after hearing the news about 2021 prom ceremonies announced by the province's premier on Tuesday.
"If we can go to the store with full capacity, go to school, sit next one another, I feel like there's precautions we can take, but I feel we don't get to talk about that, it's just a 'no' now," said Martin.
Chris Nicholson, the principle at Memorial High School in North Sydney, N.S., says community groups came together last year to make sure students didn't miss out on prom.
"There's going to be community groups that are going to be able to, hopefully help us get those transition moments together," said Nicholson.
Rankin says he will work with community groups who plan on holding prom's outside of their schools.