With the sudden shut down of many important businesses and practices last year came a lot of change. Seemingly overnight, many normal, daily practices and tasks were shut down with no certainty of when they would return. Schools, restaurants, functions, concerts, many things were taken for granted; much more so for high school students, who’s own proms were promptly shut down and graduation ceremonies across the US turned virtual. But with vaccinations sweeping across all states, how are schools responding now?
A Roller Coaster Last Year
A lot may still factor into each individual school, county, and state rules and regulations as to whether a certain school will have in-person graduation ceremonies or not. A lot of factors, such as current positive Covid infections, hospitalizations, and whether there is an increase or decrease happening in either of these statistics, will factor greatly in a lot of decisions. But it is looking up for many grads of 2021: there is an increase in the number of schools that will have in-person graduation ceremonies, and some are even holding proms. For instance, the Ohio governor announced earlier this year that they are lifting restrictions on banquets and large-size functions, and allowed schools to start planning graduations and proms. They are still having restrictions in place such as wearing masks, enacting social distancing of groups of no more than 10 and utilizing touchless ticketing.
Making It Happen
For some schools, graduation classes are simply too big to be able to hold the entire ceremony in one location, like the school’s gym, as in previous years. Some schools are splitting up the graduation into smaller groups to enable them to have the graduation while social distancing. Other schools are even looking to other venues to hold ceremonies, in order to have the space capacity or to be able to have the affair outdoors. Some schools are using their own football fields and other outdoor sport areas to have the ceremonies while keeping everyone safe. Many schools are making graduations and proms tentative, as securing outside vendors and locations also comes with a separate list of rules and regulations to follow, some of which may change last minute, making it difficult to accommodate.
Despite a lot of factors still being up in the air, schools are more determined this year in providing the traditions of past years, 2020 excluded. They understand how important graduation ceremonies and proms are for students, especially with such a few tumultuous years under their belts. Schools are working hard in nailing down as much of the details as they can, and may need all the help they can get from parents and the community to truly pull this off.