Many high school graduations will march on as COVID-19 restrictions ease

Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 4:30 PM EDT
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ADAMS, N.Y. (WWNY) - People will be in the bleachers, but not for sports. For high school graduations.

The bleachers at South Jefferson High School are empty, but on June 26, parents and family members of the senior class will be invited to celebrate the graduating class, with masks, and socially distanced.

“The big victory here is that all of the students graduate with their classmates,” said Jeffrey Ginger, South Jefferson High School principal.

Last year, because of COVID-19 capacity limits, South Jefferson held six separate graduation ceremonies in one day. This year, there will be one ceremony with two guests per graduate.

Without showing proof of a vaccine or negative COVID-19 test, New York State guidelines limit outdoor gatherings to 500 people.

At Indian River High School, principal Brian Moore said graduation will be held on the turf field for the first time ever.

Graduation at Indian River is set for June 25. In other years, Indian River’s theater has held graduation. Last year it was held at the Black River Drive-In.

“To be able to hold it back on our campus, the place that our kids know, the place that our families know is really rewarding because it’s home,” Moore said.

Three guests will be allowed per graduate on the field.

If Indian River students want more guests, they can take part in extra, smaller ceremonies inside the school’s theater. That will be an option in the three days leading up to the main event.

“They have the theater to themselves during that period of time,” Moore said.

Watertown High School will be hosting its ceremony on the turf. Four guests will be allowed per student. There will be one ceremony, scheduled for June 25, split into two sections. Family members with a last initial in the first half of the alphabet will occupy the bleachers for the first half of the ceremony, then the spectators will switch halfway through.

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