Catholic schools plan for no dancing at formals
MANY formals and leavers dinners are set to be held on school grounds this year to comply with strict coronavirus rules, as high-level talks continue about whether dancing will be allowed at the end-of-year occasions.
Discussions between the state's Education Department and Public Health officials are ongoing about how the events could be managed for Tasmania's government schools.
But Catholic Education Tasmania has planned for a scenario where dancing is not permitted and produced a set of guidelines to help schools prepare.
They encourage a sit-down meal while observing social distancing, prevent dancing and discourage parents from attending, while some schools are considering using school facilities to cater for the functions.
"The decision to hold end-of-year school formals and leavers events rests with each Catholic school or college,'' CET executive director Gerard Gaskin said.
"Catholic Education Tasmania appreciates the importance of these events to students, and has worked closely with the departments of state growth and health to ensure leavers events can be held safely, and within the confines of COVID-related laws."
The Friends' School Year 12 student Zoe Knight said she was looking forward to her school's formal on September 25.
"The tables are all going to be socially distanced and we're not allowed to have a dance floor this year,'' she said.
"But I think we're pretty lucky because at one point we weren't going to have one at all. When corona came around and there were talks that it may not happen any more, we were really upset, but we are happy we can celebrate together as a year group the end of school and the next chapter."
Dancing has been prohibited because it is considered a high-risk activity due to close mixing of people, especially in places such as nightclubs where contact tracing is potentially difficult.
But Public Health director Mark Veitch hinted that exceptions could be made for the highly anticipated school events because students were already mixing at and outside school settings.
"Some of my colleagues are in discussions with education (department) about that, and we understand that you've got people who are either already mixing because they are in the same school, or because they are already mixing outside of school,'' he said.
"So I hope there is some satisfactory landing point for that."
The Education Department said talks were ongoing for end-of-year events for the state's public schools.
State independent MP for Clark Madeleine Ogilvie called for dancing at school formals to be allowed.
Originally published as Catholic schools plan for no dancing at formals