Remember when dancing was forbidden?

Prom and graduation season is kicking off in the Garden State, and schools can finally say there are no rules in place related to the lingering pandemic.

"Knock on wood, we're all back to some sense of normalcy," Thomas Farrell, superintendent of Brick Township Public Schools, told New Jersey 101.5.

Today's high school seniors have had just one year unaffected by the COVID threat — their freshman year. And this month begins their big send-off, with some junior proms already complete and a few senior proms occurring as early as this week.

prom wedding couple corsage
Susan Prentice

"Right now we have zero restrictions, so this is business as usual for our high school kids. They deserve it," said Michael Citta, superintendent of Toms River Regional Schools.

According to Citta, the district's senior proms are being held at venues that likely would have been off-limits over the past couple of years.

Proms were off the table in 2020 due to COVID-19, and schools in 2021 were waiting on rulings from Gov. Phil Murphy related to capacity and social distancing in order to solidify their plans. Select districts had warned their students that dancing may not be permitted at prom.

'You only get to go through high school once, so we really want to make sure they enjoy the experience.'

Central Regional School District ran "a very successful junior prom" nearly two weeks ago at an off-site venue, according to Superintendent Tommy Parlapanides. Senior prom is scheduled for May 26.

"You only get to go through high school once, so we really want to make sure they enjoy the experience," Parlapanides said. "We're just going to have a regular prom for the kids."

Parlapanides noted the COVID-19 emergency prompted the district to master its livestreaming abilities, and the district's graduation ceremony will again stream live in 2022 to anyone who wishes to watch remotely.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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