How One SouthCoast High School Will Handle Graduation
When it came to traditional end-of-year festivities, Old Rochester Regional High School Principal Mike Devoll said there were two clear paths: the high school could either proceed with their original date of June 6 for graduation and make changes to make it work with proper social distancing, or he could buy himself some time and plan.
Devoll decided to punt, moving graduation exercises two months later down the road into August. Two sub-committees have been created, Devoll told Fun 107. One committee will plan festivities as if nothing has changed with regard to COVID-19. They'll be tasked with figuring out how to pull off graduation while keeping everyone safe. The other committee will plan festivities as if restrictions have been lifted here in Massachusetts. This way, a final decision about how to proceed won't have to be made until about 2-3 weeks before the event.
"The decision bought us some time and gave us some hope," Devoll said. "We know we're going to do something the second Saturday in August, we just don't know what it's going to be yet."
After ORR decided to bump graduation to August, they optimistically looked into changing the rest of the schedule for senior week. They checked with Belle Mer in Newport about moving the senior prom date to August 4.
"The prom HAS to happen before graduation," said Devoll. "Otherwise it's a reunion."
After the prom date was secured, they decided to shoot for the moon.
"Why don't we do everything in our power to give the kids the traditional Senior Week?" he said of the mindset.
Senior Awards night will happen the night of August 6, Senior Walk will happen the following night, and commencement is now scheduled for the afternoon of August 8. Basically, they plotted the schedule as if the first week of August was the first week of June. Devoll said this plan also gives ORR a chance to see what works and doesn't work for other schools that try pulling off a socially distant graduation ceremony in June.
The only event that would not be able to happen if social distancing is still in effect would be the prom. Clearly, it would be challenging to have a prom and maintain proper social distancing.
Should other schools follow the format that ORR is using? Or should they just try and go forward with June plans? Or perhaps even just scrap them entirely? Let us know what you think in the comments.