High schools plan July traditional graduation

Schools across the country are finding ways to have nontraditional commencement ceremonies, but the Appoquinimink School District is planning to have a traditional graduation.

Appoquinimink and Middletown high schools plan to have in-person ceremonies July 14 and 15 at Jaguar stadium, as long the governor’s guidelines allow it.

The district’s “Plan A” assumes there are no restrictions to gathering sizes or social distancing requirements. Each student would receive six guest tickets.

“This is a compilation of ideas from the community that the district put on paper,” school board member Charlisa Edelin, who sat on the graduation planning committee, said during a board workshop. The committee came up with “Plan B” and “Plan C,” on the same dates.

In a survey sent to seniors, 66% supported delaying graduation so they could have a large gathering with their peers.

Gov. John Carney’s Phase 1 for reopening the economy starts June 1. It requires gatherings of no more than 10 people.

“We thought it was important to keep the dates the same [for families to plan],” said Ray Gravuer, a planning committee member.

Plan B would be multiple mini graduations of about 100 students at each. Students would be seated across the football field six feet apart from one another and everyone would have face masks. Seniors would be allowed to remove the mask when receiving their diploma cover. This would occur if social distancing is still required, but gatherings can be larger than 200. Only parents would be allowed to attend.

If gathering sizes are still restricted to 10, Plan C is a drive-thru graduation. A senior would drive up to their school. The student will get out of the car and be greeted onstage with music by their principal. Parents would not leave the car.

His or her picture will be taken with the diploma cover as their name is read.

Gravuer said the district would like to pick which plan they will go with by June 26.

The rain date for Appoquinimink’s ceremony is July 16. Middletown’s is July 17.