Friday, July 17, 2020
Dear Class of 2020 and Families,
As we have received input regarding the best way to honor the Class of 2020 with a graduation ceremony, it has been clear from the start that while we were most hopeful we could produce a ceremony as close to a traditional commencement as possible, it was evident the closer we got to our graduation date, this was not going to be possible. In listening to the requests from our students, families, school community, and with the approval from the Kalamazoo County Health and Human Services Department Director, the final plan for graduation aligns with our students’ desire to have one last moment with their peers, parents/guardians to see their child walk across the stage and receive their diploma, and for use all to abide by parameters linked to limiting inadvertent spread of COVID-19.
Graduation will consist of parents/guardians being able to walk with their child into Roy Davis Field, witness their child receive their diploma, pose for a family photo, and then separate as members of the Class of 2020 sit together for the remainder of the graduation program while parents/guardians return to their vehicles in the parking lot. Following the graduation ceremony, students will immediately process to Schoolcraft Community Schools busses and begin the “Shine the Light Tour” for the Class of 2020. While student participation in the “Shine the Light Tour” is optional, we are excited for our community to be able to show their enthusiasm for and excitement of the Class of 2020 with this parade through Schoolcraft.
In addition to the in-person graduation ceremony, we will maintain the “drive to” ceremonies on Saturday, July 25th and Sunday, July 26th (the survey linked below will be used for indicating a preferred day). The faith-based community in Schoolcraft has also agreed to provide a Baccalaureate ceremony prior to graduation for a student-only blessing. Students participating may arrive as early as 6:40 P.M. for the health screen inside Schoolcraft Elementary School from the Clay Street entrance. The ceremony will begin at 7:00 P.M. at the flagpole at Roy Davis Field.
While we are nearing graduation, we have included important reminders essential to a smooth running event.
MASK UP AND SOCIAL DISTANCE. Given our current circumstances and expectations with public gatherings, it is important for all who participate in graduation to familiarize themselves with guidelines for in-person gatherings. Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-110 where the “Temporary restrictions on certain events, gatherings, and businesses” are outlined. With this Executive Order, “Outdoor social gatherings and events among persons not part of a single household are permitted, but only to the extent that: (a) The gathering or event does not exceed 100 people, and (b) People not part of the same household maintain six feet of distance from one another” (6 a and b). Additionally, effective July 13, 2020, Executive Order 2020-147 reiterated “Any individual who leaves their home or place or residence must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth: (a) When in any indoor public space, (b) When outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet or more from individuals who are not members of their household…” (page 3). Under Executive Order 2020-147, the face covering may temporarily be removed when the person is “giving a speech for broadcast or an audience” (page 4). During photos where students are with members of their own household, temporary mask removal can be permitted, but it is expected all participants in graduation are masked and will be socially distanced to the greatest extent possible.
At any place where we are planning on graduation participants to assemble, we will indicate a socially distanced location, marked by the student’s name. While graduation is limited to only a student’s parents or guardians, we do ask that if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, you forego attending graduation. Please note the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control of symptoms related to Coronavirus by clicking here.
CLASS OF 2020 ARRIVAL. Given the multiple moving parts to any graduation ceremony, let alone a celebration guided by social distancing, we will have a staggered arrival time for students in the Class of 2020. Arrival for graduation will include a health screen (including a temperature check and health questions), receiving all graduation regalia (NHS stoles, honor cords, and/or KVCC cords), and students having their photo taken by Geskus Photography for the class composite photo. Following receiving all of these items, students will follow a designated path out to a waiting area outside of the Maintenance Garage to assemble for their processional into Roy Davis Field. As students process into the stadium, they will, at that point, be joined by their parents/guardians. A summary of this process is below:
STUDENT PARKING: In front of SMS and SES on Clay Street
CHECK-IN: Enter SES from doors off Clay Street, conduct health screen, students in masks and follow social distancing, pick up graduation regalia; photo in Elementary Gym, photo times (by last name):
A-G: 7:30 P.M.
H-O: 7:40 P.M.
P-Z: 7:50 P.M.
LINE UP: Students follow path from SES to area south of Maintenance Garage for line up
PARENT/GUARDIAN ARRIVAL. Graduation is limited to only a student’s parent(s)/guardian(s). Parking for all adults will be in the parking spaced north of the Middle School. Staging for all parents/guardians will occur in the grass area between the parking spaces and the Maintenance Garage (see map below). It is recommended all parents/guardians arrive and report to their staging area by 7:45 P.M.
STUDENT, PARENT/GUARDIAN ENTRY INTO STADIUM. All participants in graduation will be set up to follow social distancing guidelines. As members of the Class of 2020 near the graduation stage, they will be separated from their parent(s)/guardian(s). The student’s name and honors will not be read until the parent(s)/guardian(s) are on the opposite side of the stage. As each student’s name is announced, a summary of their honors provided, students will be provided their diploma case by a member of the Schoolcraft Board of Education. Parent(s)/guardian(s), meanwhile, will be able to see their student cross the stage, greet them, and then pose for a photo. After this, parent(s)/guardian(s) will exit the stadium, pick up their child’s diploma and any Senior Awards at the exit to the stadium.
REMAINDER OF COMMENCEMENT. As the Class of 2020 are announced individually and have had their picture taken, they will proceed to a seating area north of the stage on Roy Davis Field. Students should, if able, remain standing while each of their peers are announced. Once all students are announced, we will continue with the remainder of our graduation program, including speeches from school officials, the class president, valedictorian, and from the faculty speaker. All of commencement will be recorded by a videographer and will be broadcast via Facebook Live.
RECESSIONAL INTO THE “SHINE THE LIGHT TOUR”. Following the commencement program, students will exit Roy Davis Field and board SCS busses to participate in the “Shine the Light Tour”. While this is not a mandatory event, it is encouraged for students to participate as this event will provide a moment for the Schoolcraft community to show their appreciation for the Class of 2020. Students will be distanced on the bus to the greatest extent possible. Graduates participating in the “Shine the Light Tour” may indicate their participation in the surrey linked below. Students opting not to participate in this tour may head back to their vehicle.
SURVEY FOR RSVP-ING ATTENDANCE AND “DRIVE TO” GRADUATIONS. In order to help us prepare for this celebration of the Class of 2020, please complete the survey for your commitment to attend and participate in the Baccalaureate ceremony, commencement, the “Shine the Light Tour”, and for the “drive to” graduation ceremonies. The survey may be viewed and completed by clicking here. Please have the survey completed by Tuesday, July 21, 2020.
INCLEMENT WEATHER. Should Mother Nature inhibit our celebration on Friday, July 24, 2020, our alternative day for graduation commencement is Sunday, July 26, 2020 at 3:00 P.M. Should an adjustment need to be made, information will go out via ThrillShare, the SCS App, email, and be posted to the SCS website no earlier than 6:00 P.M.
On behalf of Schoolcraft Community Schools Board of Education and of the entire school community, we are excited to continue honoring the Class of 2020. While we are living in the unique circumstances of a global pandemic, our enthusiasm, pride, and excitement for the Class of 2020 is far from stifled.
With best regards,
Dr. Rusty Stitt, Superintendent
Matthew Dailey, Principal