Traditional, outdoor-only graduation celebrations are now permitted in the Finger Lakes Region, with social distancing and proper protective equipment, by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order issued last weekend, but only on or after June 26 and with a maximum crowd size of 150 people. This means that the tentative plans made by Penn Yan and Dundee Central School will need to be adjusted.
Penn Yan Superintendent Howard Dennis has been reaching out to graduates’ families to keep them informed of what their options might be, but will be taking suggestions from Penn Yan Academy’s graduating seniors.
“With almost 100 graduates, that 150 person limit puts us in a bit of a bind,” says Dennis. Live-streamed video from the diploma area for families not in attendance was one idea mentioned in the tentative plans that may be employed even in the new plan. Social distancing and proper protective equipment are required in the Governor’s order.
“Please know and understand the PYCSD does not have the authority to override the Governor’s directives,” says Dennis. “Anyone not abiding by the guidelines may be asked to leave the ceremony and be escorted off campus.”
Dundee Superintendent Kelly Houck says the district had created three different plans for graduation. “Plan A would have been our typical/traditional graduation ceremony with no modification. We knew this would mostly likely not transpire, however, would still have been our plan A.
“Plan B, which we will be moving forward with is our traditional ceremony modified to meet all of the requirements we must adhere, to such as, maximum occupancy of 150 (reduced density), face coverings, social distancing, and sanitation. “We will seat our graduates six feet apart on risers. We only have 35 this year which makes it much easier for us to accommodate.”
Houck says students will be allowed a limited number of family members, and all family members must sit together and remain together, seated six feet apart from the next family.
“We will need to move our ceremony as it was planned for Thursday, June 25 and the Governor’s order states that ceremonies can begin taking place on June 26. We will be finalizing plans Monday and then immediately communicating them with our families.”