Due to restrictions and regulations aimed at combating the COVID-19 pandemic, this has been a year of changes within local scholastic communities. With schools transitioning to learning based primarily in students’ homes and many schools ending their year early, it has also been a year of uncertainty for students, educators, administrators and parents. Foremost in the minds of many has been how graduation ceremonies will be handled in a time when large gatherings are still discouraged by health officials. Here’s what our local schools will be doing for their Senior Graduation ceremonies this year:

Penn Yan

The Class of 2020 has elected to have two smaller graduation ceremonies Friday, June 26th. The graduating class has been divided alphabetically into two smaller groups. Graduates are each allowed two guests who may attend the ceremony.

The first ceremony will begin at 5:00 p.m. with the first half of the graduating class, including students with the last names Anderson-Kays. Graduates and their two guests should arrive and park in the Middle School parking lot near the tennis courts no earlier than 4:30 p.m. and must be present by 4:50 p.m. All graduates and families must be off campus by 6:30 p.m. to allow the second ceremony to take place.

The second ceremony will begin at 7:00 p.m. with the second half of the graduating class, including students with the last names Kennedy-Wunder. Graduates and their guests should arrive and park in the Penn Yan Elementary parking lots no earlier than 6:30 p.m. and must be present by 6:50 p.m.

Upon arrival, graduates and their two guests will be escorted to their seats on the turf with a minimum of six feet between families in all directions.

To promote safety, all in attendance must take their temperature the day of graduation. Anyone with a fever of 100.5 or higher (per Dept. of Health guidance) is not permitted to attend or participate in the graduation ceremony. Please note that P.Y.C.S.D. reserves the right to take the temperature of any and all attendees upon arrival. All graduates, guests and participating staff must wear facial masks or facial coverings and avoid all contact with all non-family members. The district has provided every Senior with a mask in advance.

After introductions and speeches, graduates will walk across the stage to receive their diploma via contact-free delivery.

The district will provide a photographer to take pictures of each student and will make photos available digitally, free-of-charge to families afterwards. Students will be able to briefly remove their masks for a photo after leaving the stage.

Restrooms and refreshments will not be available.

Beach balls and other items to toss will not be allowed in order to limit potential contact.

Anyone not abiding by these guidelines may be asked to leave the ceremony and will be escorted off campus.

The ceremonies will both be live streamed online and broadcast through any other means available.

In the event of rain or other weather concerns, the ceremony will go back to the previously announced “drive-through” format.

To prepare for the ceremony, students will be required to attend a mandatory rehearsal the morning of graduation. Students with the last names Anderson-Kays must report to the field by 8:30 a.m. on Friday, June 26th. Students with the last names Kennedy-Wunder must report to the field for a second rehearsal by 10:30 a.m. Student parking for the rehearsals will be limited to the P.Y.M.S./Senior parking lot. Any student who does not attend their rehearsal will not be allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony. Students must wear their face masks and maintain social distancing.

Dundee

Dundee Central School has been able to retain a traditional graduation ceremony this year, which will take place on Friday, June 26th. 

The number of attendees to the ceremony is capped at 150 people.

Each graduate will be allowed to have only four guests attend the ceremony.

Graduates will receive informational materials and their guests’ tickets in the mail.

The ceremony will be live streamed and broadcast through available media.

All graduates and attendees are required to wear face masks and maintain social distancing.

Any changes or updates to these plans will be sent to graduates and parents first.

It should be noted, in these times of uncertainty, that plans may change even days before the intended ceremonies. Graduates, parents and other interested parties should keep an eye on each school’s websites and social media pages for the latest news and updates on graduation ceremonies.