Graduation is such an important event in the life of a high school senior and this year it is even more meaningful than ever before. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the cancellation of school for the remainder of the year, we knew celebrating graduation would be challenging. Much of the challenge lies with the parameters and guidelines that Governor Cuomo has instituted for the reopening of New York State. These guidelines include: not allowing groups of 10 or more to gather at one time, ensuring people are following the social distancing guideline of 6 feet and not reopening schools or school property until we reach phase 4 of the reopening plan in our region, the Capital Region. Although nothing would make the faculty, staff, and administration happier than to have a traditional graduation ceremony, it simply is not possible at this time.
In order to celebrate our graduates and give them a graduation they will be proud of, we have developed three plans that we can implement depending on the state parameters. Our first plan, our Plan A, remains our traditional graduation in the gymnasium. Our back up plan, to be used if certain restrictions are lifted, would be our Plan B. Plan B would be on the football field. As of this writing, we aren’t permitted either of these options. The plan we are going ahead with, our Plan C, incorporates both traditional elements of graduation and some new elements.
In closing, I would like to thank all of you for your understanding and patience. The past few months of the 2019-2020 school year have been uniquely difficult, especially as I think about all that the seniors have missed. I also want to thank our seniors for their creative ideas, input into the process and self-advocacy. First and foremost, high school graduates should be citizens who are active in the democratic process and stand up for what they believe in. The Class of 2020 has certainly shown these qualities and it will serve them and our community well in the future. I’m proud of who they have become and the resilience they have shown.
Below, please find the outline of all three proposed plans. I look forward to seeing you during our graduation celebration and congratulations on your Class of 2020 graduate. We recognize the important role you have played as their first teachers and your desire to celebrate this great milestone as a family.
Class of 2020 Graduation Plans
- The traditional graduation on Saturday, June 27th at 10:30am.
- In order for this to take place all criteria of phase 4 of the reopening of the Capital Region would have to be met, or Governor Cuomo would have to relax the current guidelines.
- Graduation on the football field or other athletic fields at the High School.
- Graduation would take place on Friday, June 26th with a rain date of Saturday, June 27th.
- Seating would be limited and social distancing and face masks would have to be worn.
- Graduate seating would also require social distancing and facemasks would have to be worn.
- In order for this to take place, Governor Cuomo would have to relax the current guidelines and allow school districts to reopen school athletic fields for graduation.
- The week of 6/22 graduates in small groups, and their immediate families, will come to the high school at a designated time to “walk the stage” in the gymnasium. During this ceremony students will:
- Have their name read by Mr. Bennefield as they cross the stage
- Students will receive their diploma
- Families will be allowed to take pictures
- There will be pictures taken of each graduate and their families in a designated area.
- Each graduate will be videotaped as they cross the stage
- A virtual graduation ceremony will be streamed Friday evening, June 26th. This will include:
- Val, Sal speeches
- HS Principal speech
- Superintendent speech
- Scholarship and awards winners will be announced
- Video of all graduates “walking the stage” and their name is announced
- Car parade on Saturday, June 27th at 10:30 am. Details of the route and parade to follow