Trinity County’s three high schools are still working out the details of how to conduct graduation ceremonies this year while keeping students and their families safe from the spread of COVID-19.
One method proving popular around the country involves using cars to shuttle grads to the podium.
Trinity High School, the largest in the county, is still working out its plans to hold a drive-through graduation using the athletic track. District Supt. Jaime Green said a drive-through graduation would meet all the state requirements related to social distancing. He said there would be no spectators in the stands, but the ceremony would be recorded and live-streamed.
Principal Sandy Coatney said cars would line up in the parking lot and be directed around the school to the track/stadium.
“Cars go around the track to the front, the graduate gets out and gets their diploma and picture,” he said. “We read their accomplishments, scholarships, and senior statement while that is going on. Everybody honks, the graduate gets back in the car, and the procession moves forward.”
Green noted that Coatney and school board members will be wearing masks and gloves during the ceremony.
Coatney said only the graduates will be allowed out of the car and bathrooms and other facilities will not be open. Local law enforcement will be assisted by the Lion’s Club in keeping things organized. Green said other details are being worked out and have yet to be approved.
Andy Felt, assistant principal at Southern Trinity High School, said Monday that the school is going to make some rough plans for a drive-through graduation and present them to the school board. However, it has not yet been approved, as the small school only has two graduating seniors this year.
Hayfork High School staff could not yet be reached for its graduation plans.
County Superintendent of Schools Sarah Supahan said other graduations, such as 8th grade, are also being examined.
“Graduations are still in the planning process, and actually ‘graduations’ as we know them from the past, will not be held,” she said. “There is planning occurring right now in each district about how to award 8th grade and senior diplomas, and the different ways to make it meaningful for students, while staying well within the guidelines set to avoid any mass gathering.”
All dates and further details will be published once received.
While it’s not yet known how well it will work to graduate by car, one thing is certain: the Class of 2020 will have a graduation like no other before them and its photos and memories will mark this point in history.