Despite the ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mobile County Public School System is planning to hold limited in-person graduation ceremonies for the Seniors in the Class of 2020.
Earlier this month, MCPSS officials unveiled a plan for a “drive-thru” graduation experience, but Superintendent Chresal Threadgill said Tuesday that new state health guidelines have made it possible to hold more “traditional” commencement ceremonies for seniors at the district’s 12 high schools.
As part of the amendment to her “Safer at Home” order on Friday, May 8, Gov. Kay Ivey removed previous restrictions on non-work related gatherings of 10 or more people. That ruling had made it difficult for school districts to plan anything resembling a typical graduation ceremony.
While the relaxed order may allow graduates to use a format that’s more familiar, Threadgill said all MCPSS ceremonies would be hosted in compliance with social distancing guidelines issued by state and local health officials as well as additional safety parameters developed by his administrative staff.
“My intentions with every decision made as it relates to our MCPSS Class of 2020 are not only for the best interest of our students but are in the best interest of spectators and all involved,” Threadgill said.
According to MCPSS, all high school graduation ceremonies traditionally held at the USA Mitchell Center will now take place at Ladd Peebles Stadium. Threadgill said seating for participants and spectators will be a minimum of six feet apart to comply with social distancing requirements.
In order to limit crowd sizes, Threadgill said each 2020 graduate would be limited to just five tickets — a limit he said would be strictly enforced. He also said that each schools’ graduation practice would be held just ahead of the ceremony to prevent two large gatherings of students.
A statement from MCPSS said parents and students will be receiving additional information from their high school about the specifics of their graduation ceremony including the date and time.
“We know that not all decisions made will be favorable to everyone. However, with the pandemic we are facing, we ask that you respect that it is an extremely daunting task to plan graduation ceremonies for over 3,500 students within the parameters set forth and with time restraints,” Threadgill added.
More information about MCPSS plans for graduation can be found on the district’s Facebook page.
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