Oakland officials are blocking unvaccinated high school students from attending their own prom.

Monte Vista High School in Danville, California booked Oakland’s Scottish Rite Center for its annual prom, a school tradition since at least the 1990s.

Dr. Kevin Ahern, the school principal, says that when they booked the venue for the February 12th event, they thought it would fall under Alameda County’s guidelines for large indoor events: vaccinations required or a negative COVID test.

“What we weren’t aware of was that, in December, the City of Oakland had put together an ordinance that required vaccination only,” Dr. Ahern said. Dr. Ahern says that current regulations exclude roughly 20 unvaccinated students.

“We’re talking about minors, talking about students under the age of 18. They don’t have full control over choices,” he said,

“Students may want to get vaccinated, but their parents are asking or having them not get vaccinated for one reason or another, and some students are making a personal choice not to be vaccinated. Ultimately what it comes down to is that they don’t have a full choice in that.”

The principal sent a proposal to the city, asking that high schools leasing venues be allowed to accept a negative COVID test for entrance into the event.

“Ahern says the proposal has so far not been successful with the city,” reported ABC7 News.

The outlet reached out to a City of Oakland spokesperson who said that the City Administrator’s Office did receive Dr. Ahern’s proposal and that it was reviewed by the City Attorney’s office.

“The ordinance does not authorize City staff with discretion to grant the exemption proposed,” responded the office.

“However, a person attending a Large Indoor Event such as this may be exempt from the vaccine proof requirement if they are entitled under any applicable law to a reasonable accommodation for a medical condition.”

“They’ve (endured) canceled graduations, proms, other events,” Dr. Ahern said. “This is that first opportunity to really celebrate as a class.”

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