While many schools remain out of session under COVID-19 guidelines, that doesn’t mean some seniors won’t get their chance to have a graduation ceremony.
The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District has been able to move forward on small group graduations after approval from the School Board of Trustees.
With current health and safety concerns, the proposed plan will be to hold 16-18 small graduation ceremonies at War Memorial Stadium on July 8, 9, 10 and 11 at 9 am, 11 am, 6 pm and 8 pm daily. District officials say 25 graduates from Paso Robles High School, Liberty High School, and Independence High School will attend at a time, following the state and federal physical distancing requirements at six feet apart.
Graduates will be assigned their date and time by June 10 for their ceremony. Students and families will not be able to request ceremony dates and times, but students can request their “friend group” to graduate with and the district will accommodate as much as possible.
Each ceremony will have no more than 25 graduates and will consist of the following:
- Eight family member tickets; seating will be on the field and each family cluster will be spaced in accordance to physical distancing requirements
- Maintaining less than 225 people on the football field, 55,000 sq feet of space, at a time
- One family member will give the diploma out to their graduate to keep with physical distancing requirements
- A processional and recessional of gradates with recorded music with take place
- No post-on-field celebrations of graduates with the crowd
- A traditional stage with pre-recorded speeches including Valedictorian, Salutatorian, ASB President, Class President, and Principal
- Traditional streamers and students will walk across stage
- Chairs will be sanitized for each ceremony
- The school district will attempt to broadcast/live stream the ceremonies if possible
If a graduate chooses not to participate in the graduation, they will be scheduled to receive their diploma at an alternative time.
At this time, the district believes social distancing guidelines can still be followed during the ceremony and they will not be requiring masks for the ceremonies. They will support those who choose to wear masks, especially for high-risk groups.
The district says it will be holding drive thru-promotions for eighth graders.