County schools issue graduation ceremony instructions

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CULLMAN COUNTY, Ala. – As the Cullman County school system prepares to hold graduation ceremonies, principals have begun sending out instructions for those planning to attend ceremonies coming up May 22-23. The Tribune has not yet received instructions from Fairview, Hanceville or the Cullman County Child Development Center at the time of writing; they will be published when they are available.

Some information is repeated from letter to letter, but The Tribune shares the statements as they were sent.

Cold Springs High School

Dear Class of 2020 Graduates and Parents,

It is our honor to announce that we are in preparation to host the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020. This event will take place Saturday, May 23rd at 6:00; in case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved to Sunday afternoon with a time to be determined,

In order to perform the ceremony on our campus, there are guidelines that will have to be followed as set forth by the Alabama Department of Public Health. Governor Kay Ivey, and State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey. We ask that those attending maintain the proper distancing guideline of six fect of separation as well as consideration of those who may have a weakened immune system. Furthermore, for those individuals who are over 65 and considered at risk, it is strongly encouraged to watch the ceremony via the Facebook stream that will be provided.

In order to keep families together and at an appropriate social distance from other families, we have established the following procedures:

  1. Graduates may have up to ten family members present at the ceremony. Those entering the stadium will provide a ticket at the entrance to one of our staff members.
  2. We will use home and visitor bleachers for seating of families. Sections will be labeled where families will be allowed to sit with consideration to social distancing rules. Gates into the stadium will open at 5:00 p.m. which is one hour before the ceremony will begin. We would like to ask all campus visitors to please maintain social distancing rules both inside and outside of the stadium.
  3. We will have two entrances into the stadium: the main gate and the gate behind the home side of the football field. Please remember that parking on the home side of the football field will be limited to first come.
  4. Family groups must enter together and sit together. Handicapped seating will be available around the fencing that enters the track.
  5. We will allow our guests to bring lawn chairs and place them at the top of either side of the stadium. No family members will be permitted on the track or field at any time.
  6. Handicap parking is available outside the Main Gate near the football ticket booth.
  7. Graduates will be seated six feet apart, and we will not be able to shake hands as they cross the stage. Their picture will be taken with the principal as they receive their diploma, and we will have a photographer from Joe McEachern to capture the graduation ceremony.

8.After the ceremony, graduates will be escorted out of the stadium to end the ceremony. At that time, we will dismiss family members by rows or sections. We encourage you to establish an off-campus location to meet family and friends for photos.

  1. We will have faculty and staff members who will help answer questions, seat your family, and make sure guidelines are met.
  2. We will virtually telecast the ceremony (Facebook. Youtube) to protect those that may be the most at risk during this time.

Cold Springs tradition requires that graduates wear the following: Ladies — dresses must be within dress code with proper dress shoes (no sneakers, flip flops, etc): Men — dress pants (black or khaki, no jeans), dress shirt, tie is optional, dress shoes. If you or your family members are not comfortable with your graduate attending this ceremony, we will be happy to arrange an individual time to meet your graduate to present his her diploma for your small family group

Cold Springs High School looks forward to celebrating this occasion with our seniors. We ask for your patience and understanding as we work to create the best experience we can under the circumstances we are given. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns

Good Hope High School

Dear Senior Student and Parents,

It is with excitement that we prepare to host graduation for the GHHS Class of 2020. However, we will have to make plans according to the following guidelines to ensure a safe distance for all involved. Although you and your family may be well and confident in being around others, please respectfully maintain social distance between families due to students and their families who may have a compromised immune system or fall into at-risk categories.

We have established the following procedures based upon guidance sent to the district from Dr. Eric Mackey, State Superintendent of Education.

  • We will skip rows of bleachers.
  • Each student will be allowed up to 10 tickets. We will need a count of the number of needed tickets at the graduation practice. We will give the tickets out at our practice on Thursday, May 21st at 1:00 pm.
  • No lines will be permitted to form outside of gates until 5:00 p.m. and gates will open at 5:15p.m. Families are asked to keep social distance outside of gates. Family entrance will be at the Main Gate. Family groups must enter together and sit together.
  • We encourage car-pooling among family groups.
  • Handicapped seating is available at the bottom of the home bleachers and at the bottom of the visitor bleachers. It is permissible to bring lawn chairs to sit with your family group around the top drive of the stadium. No family members will be permitted on the the field at any time. Handicap parking is available outside the Main Gate. Please know that no one can park inside the gates of the football field.
  • Students must keep a six-foot distance. They will check-in at in the endzone, and we will place them in groups (six feet apart) to prepare for the graduation processional. *Graduates will be seated six feet apart, and we will not be able to shake hands as they cross the stage. After the ceremony, graduates will be escorted to the parking lot where they MUST leave campus immediately following the ceremony. Family members will be dismissed by rows. I encourage you to establish an off-campus location to meet family and friends for photos.

 

We will have a professional photographer to take a picture of your graduate as he/she crosses the stage. We will also be live-broadcasting the program on our school’s Facebook page.

This is a traditional graduation ceremony. A dress code has been provided to the graduates.

If you or your family members are not comfortable with your graduate attending this ceremony, I will be happy to arrange an individual time to meet your graduate to present his/her diploma for your small family group.

In the event of rain, we will move the graduation to Sunday at 2:00.

I look forward to congratulating each one of our graduates on his/her accomplishments. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Holly Pond High School

Class of 2020 Graduates, Parents, and Guardians,

It is with great excitement that we prepare to host the Commencement Exercise for the Class of 2020 at Holly Pond High School. We received updated guidance on the evening of Friday, May 8 which allows us to host the ceremony on campus in the stadium. However, we will have to make plans according to the following guidelines to ensure a safe distance for all involved. Although you and your family may be well and confident in being around others, please respectfully maintain social distance between families due to students and their families who may have a compromised immune system or fall into at-risk categories.

The following guidance was sent to us on Friday from Dr. Eric Mackey, State Superintendent of Education and we will establish procedures to follow these guidelines:

“At a minimum, gatherings must be held in a facility that would allow a distance of six feet between families. Family members of the same household may sit together without regard to the social distance rule.”

“Health protocols for serving attendees:

  • Strongly encourage people 65 or older and others especially at risk to watch or participate in the service remotely
  • Designate an area inside the facility reserved for the at-risk population or offer a service for at-risk population attendees only
  • Ensure proper spacing between attendees:
    • Keep at least two empty seats (or six feet of separation) between parties in any row except as follows:
    • Two or more members of the same household can sit next to one another, with two seats (or six feet separation) empty on either side.
    • Alternate rows between attendees (every other row left empty).”

 

“All individuals – and especially vulnerable persons – are encouraged to exercise personal responsibility in slowing the spread of COVID-19 by

  1. Minimizing travel outside the home, especially if sick;
  2. Wearing face coverings around people from other households when it is necessary to leave the home;
  3. Washing hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitizer, especially after touching frequently used items or surfaces;
  4. Refraining from touching one’s face; e Sneezing or coughing into a tissue, or the inside of one’s elbow, and
  5. Disinfecting frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.”

 

In order to keep families together and at an appropriate social distance from other families, we have established the following procedures:

  1. Graduates will be given 10 tickets after practice on Friday, May 22nd, at 10:00 a.m.
  2. Graduates may have up to 10 family members present at the ceremony. Your family members MUST present a ticket at the gate in order to enter the field.
  3. The ceremony will be live-streamed on Facebook, and a video will be made. Each student will receive one free 4X6 photo of the student receiving his/her diploma. Videos will be available for purchase at graduation practice. The video will be $35.00
  4. We will use home and visitor bleachers for seating of families. We will skip each row and block off six-foot sections in the middle of each set of open bleachers.
  5. Gates will open at 4 PM. Families are asked to keep social distance outside of gates

A-F will sit on the visitors’ side and enter through the gate between the ticket booth and the Jr. High field house G-Z will sit on the home side and enter the gate at the concession stand. We would like for family groups to arrive together. Family groups must sit together.

  1. Handicapped seating is available at the top of the home bleachers.
  2. It is permissible to bring lawn chairs to sit with your family members. Spaces will be marked for those seats. No family members will be permitted on the track or the field at any time.
  3. Handicap parking is available outside the Main Gate. There will be no parking by the field house, and both gates to the softball/baseball fields will be locked. We encourage family carpooling.
  4. After the ceremony, graduates will be escorted to the parking lot where they MUST leave campus immediately following the ceremony. Family members will be dismissed by rows. I encourage you to establish an off-campus location to meet family and friends for photos.
  5. By accepting a ticket and coming to graduation, you agree to comply with all social distancing measures we have put in place.

Vinemont High School

Dear Senior Students and Parents,

It is our great pleasure to send out this information about the commencement for the class of 2020. This letter seeks to inform you of procedures that will not only allow your family to enjoy the ceremony in a safe way, but also maintain social distance between families who may have a compromised immune system or fall into at-risk categories. The following guidance was sent to us on Friday from Dr. Eric Mackey, State Superintendent of Education, and we will establish procedures to follow these guidelines: 

At a minimum, gatherings must be held in a facility that would allow a distance of six feet between families. Family members of the same household may sit together without regard to the social distance rule. Health protocols or serving attendees: 

  • Strongly encourage people 65 or older and others especially at risk to watch or participate in the service remotely. WE WILL DO A FACEBOOK LIVE OF THE CEREMONY.
  • Designate an area inside the facility reserved for the at-risk population or offer a service for at-risk population attendees only. THE TRACK WILL BE HANDICAPPED ONLY.
  • Ensure proper spacing between attendees: 
    • Keep at least two empty seats (or six feet of separation) between parties in any row, except as follows: 
      • Two or more members of the same household can sit next to one another, with two seats (or six feet separation) empty on either side. 
      • Alternate rows between attendees (every other row left empty). ” “All individuals and especially vulnerable persons are encouraged to exercise personal responsibility in slowing the spread of COVID19 by: 
        • a. Minimizing travel outside the home, especially if sick; 
        • b. Wearing face coverings around people from other households when it is necessary to leave the home; 
        • c. Washing hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitizer, especially after touching frequently used items or surfaces; 
        • d. Refraining from touching one’s face; 
        • e. Sneezing or coughing into a tissue, or the inside of one’s elbow; and 
        • f. Disinfecting frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible. 

 

In order to keep families together and at an appropriate social distance from other families, we have established the following procedures: 

  • Graduation practice will be Friday night at 6 p.m. ONLY GRADUATES ARE ALLOWED 
  • Graduation will be Saturday at 6 p.m. All graduates need to be at the stadium by 5:30 p.m. 
  • Graduates may have up to 10 family members present at the ceremony. 
  • Your family members MUST have a ticket to enter the stadium. When each family group arrives at the gate, you will give your ticket to our staff. You will get your tickets at grad practice. 
  • We will have each family designated to sit on one side of the stadium, based on which side of the field your senior is sitting on. There will be a sign when you enter the stadium that directs you to the appropriate side of the stadium. 
  • If the visitor does not have a ticket, they will not be permitted in the stadium. We will use home and visitor bleachers for seating of families. 
  • We will skip every other row and block off six-foot sections in the middle of each set of open bleachers. 
  • No lines will be permitted to form outside of gates until 5:00 p.m. Gates will open at 5:00 p.m. Please stay in your car until 5pm. 
  • Families are asked to keep social distance outside of gates. 
  • Family groups must enter together and sit together. 
  • Handicapped seating is available on the track on the home side. The overflow will be the visitor side track area. 
  • It is permissible to bring lawn chairs to sit with your family or blankets for the hillside. 
  • Handicap parking is available down both sides of the road that goes to the stadium. 
  • We encourage car-pooling among family groups. The student parking lot will be reserved for graduates and staff only. 
  • Graduates will be seated six feet apart, and we will not be able to shake hands as they cross the stage. 
  • We will have a professional photographer and provide a photograph for you so that you do not have to be concerned about capturing this special moment. After the ceremony, graduates will exit to the parking lot, where they MUST leave campus immediately following the ceremony. Family members will be dismissed by rows. I encourage you to establish an off-campus location to meet family and friends for photos. 
  • This is a traditional formal graduation ceremony. Graduates should dress appropriately. 
  • If you or your family members are not comfortable with your graduate attending this ceremony, I would be happy to arrange an individual time to meet your graduate to present his/her diploma for your small family group. 
  • The ceremony will also be live-streamed on Facebook for those that are unable to attend the ceremony. In the event of rain, the ceremony will be held on the following day that has acceptable weather, in this case Sunday at the same time. 

 

West Point High School

The ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 23, 2020 at 6:00 pm in the high school football stadium. In the event of rain, the event will be held on Sunday afternoon.

Regulations for social distancing from the Alabama Department of Public Health will be followed for graduates and guests throughout the ceremony. ALSDE guidelines and those set by Governor Kay Ivey should be reviewed and adhered to by all guests. Guests are encouraged to wear a mask.

Any potential guest who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for the virus should not attend. The ceremony will be broadcast live on the NFHS network and Facebook. Links and directions will be provided prior to the event.

Each graduating senior will be allowed up to ten (10) guests. Tickets will be distributed to seniors prior to the event. Guests must present their ticket at the gate for admission to the ceremony.

Guests will be seated in designated areas as follows:

  • Guests of graduates with Last Names A-K will be seated on the Home side bleachers.
  • Guests of graduates with Last Names L-Z will be seated on the Visitor side bleachers.

Guests may park near and enter through the stadium gate nearest their assigned seating section. Family groups must enter together and sit together. No guests will be allowed on the field.

After the ceremony, graduates will exit the field. Guests will be dismissed by section to exit the nearest gates. Graduates and guests are asked to limit gatherings to sites off-campus.

Thank you in advance for your patience as we work together to provide a special event for the WPHS Class of 2020. We, like you, are excited that the restrictions have been eased enough for this event to be possible. Even though this event will be different than our traditional ceremony, we are thankful for the opportunity.

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com