Students can finally say ‘yes’ to the formal dress
Dancing will be allowed at school formals but parents must stay away, according to the new health guidelines that will govern this year's milestone celebrations.
However the advice stipulates that dance floors must be either outside or well ventilated, there must only be 10 people at a table and venues must be big enough to allow four square metres per person.
Students can invite and dance with partners from different schools, provided those partners live locally and already mix and mingle with the host school cohort.
Following Monday's announcement that formals and graduations could go ahead, the government on Friday night clarified that they cannot beheld until the day after the last HSC written exam on November 12.
The government will not decide until next term whether Year 10 formals or Year 6 graduation ceremonies will be able to go ahead.
In advice provided to principals on Friday, schools have been encouraged to live-stream graduation ceremonies for family and friends who would otherwise miss out.
Students must restrict the number of guests they bring to graduation ceremonies to limit mingling and take their own pens to sign yearbooks.
"Our students have done a fantastic job this year staying focused and working towards their final exams," Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said on Friday.
"With less than six weeks to the start of the HSC exams, students can focus on their final studies knowing that there will be official opportunities to celebrate their schooling.
"We are encouraging schools to use strategies that discourage spontaneous crowding, including when arriving or leaving the event."
However Ms Mitchell warned students planning formal after parties and families planning graduation celebrations that normal public health orders will apply.
Windsor formalwear store, Smik Clothing, owner Ana Begovic warned seamstresses would be swamped with alterations to formal gowns - which typically take between two and three weeks - and urged students not to wait before snapping up their finery or risk disappointment.
After a torrid six months, Ms Begovic said she was thrilled to have euphoric teenagers back in store searching through the racks.
"I love this job, I love dressing the girls," Ms Begovic said.
"We teach the girls how to dress in formalwear, which most of them have never worn before, and we have mums with tears in their eyes seeing their little girls have grown up."
DANCING ALLOWED AT SCHOOL FORMALS
Breeanah Barbara squealed with delight when she found out she could share a dance with her boyfriend Callum at this year's school formal.
The Norwest Christian College Year 12 student was in Friday agonising over whether to wear a long white gown or add a splash of colour to her formal outfit when she heard the news.
The 18-year-old has spent the week poring over lookbooks after the government announced on Monday formals could go ahead.
While students were already excited to celebrate, the government's ruling dancing will be allowed came as a great relief.
According to Breeanah, dancing will restore some normality to an otherwise unusual and drab final school year.
"We've put in so much effort for all these years and been so busy studying, so it's good to be rewarded with a celebration," she said.
"When we found out the formal was going ahead, mum and I had a little celebration when I got home, and now to find out we can dance - oh, I am just so excited."
Parents have been urged to give school formals a wide berth to reduce mingling, which Breeanah will cite as a compelling reason why she needs her parents to shell out for a chauffeured limousine.
Originally published as Students can finally say 'yes' to the formal dress