Audit blames ‘poor execution’ for using Sharpie in Exeter, NH Prom
An audit by officials of the Exeter School District of the contact tracing process for the high school prom concluded that “a lack of proper planning, inadequate communication, poor execution and insufficient supervision” have leads unvaccinated students to be marked with a Sharpie pen.
Planning for the prom in the Exeter High School parking lot on June 4 went very quickly after COVID-19 vaccines were approved for use by adolescents and a significant drop in the number of cases, according to a summary from the audit provided to Seacoast Current.
District officials said they knew not all students would be fully immunized, so a contact tracing system was put in place.
The students were informed on the prom’s website that a contact tracing system would be in place and were asked to provide information about the vaccination. The details of this plan were not spelled out on the website.
Students who could not provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination in advance or at the ball were identified with a black mark on their hand.
The dance was spread over three dance floors. After a few songs, the students were asked to raise their hands to determine who they were around.
The plan went against Superintendent David Ryan’s instructions issued on May 19, which prohibited staff from questioning students about their immunization status, according to the audit.
The audit also indicated that once this information was collected, “proper care was not exercised to ensure the confidentiality of this information once it was collected.”
The audit also concluded:
- The class counselor, while playing a leading role in planning the ball, should have involved the high school administration in the planning and decision-making given the complexity of planning a large-scale event during a pandemic, particularly with regard to contact tracing.
- High school health workers and state and federal experts should have been consulted for advice on contact tracing.
- Additional training should have been provided to the prom volunteers
- Allowing access to information on pupil immunization by individuals and / or volunteers who may not have had a formal school goal may have been a violation of family education rights and confidentiality (FERPA)
“While there is no doubt that the intention of those involved in the planning was to provide a safe event for the students, the procedures were flawed and poorly executed,” the audit concluded.
The audit did not apologize or specify any disciplinary action against anyone involved in planning the ball. This will result in the redesign of the process and guidelines for planning and executing events in the UAS “to ensure proper oversight, communication, coordination and execution”.
Representative Melissa Litchfield, from District R-11 and a member of the Coop Exeter Area School Board, first drew attention to the issue of what she called a “fact-finding mission” into her. Facebook page after hearing from parents upset by what happened. at the Bal.
Litchfield has not yet responded to Seacoast Current’s request for comment regarding the audit.
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