BLP seniors to get private graduation stage walks

Bend-La Pine seniors will get an opportunity for an in-person graduation ceremony after all – sort of.

Students will be able to put on their cap and gown, walk across their high school stage and receive their diploma while up to six members of their families look on from the audience, Superintendent Shay Mikalson announced Tuesday.

Once each senior receives their diploma and photos are taken, they will exit with their family, prior to the arrival of the next senior.

The private ceremonies are in addition to the previously announced televised, virtual graduation ceremonies, and the seniors still have the opportunity to walk with the Class of 2021 if they choose.

“We had hoped and advocated for such an opportunity for our students and families, and are thankful to the Oregon Department of Education for making this adjustment for our graduating seniors and their families,” Mikalson said. “Though not a full in-person graduation, which we cannot deliver per the Governor’s orders, we think this is a pretty great opportunity for private stage walks for seniors that we were previously unable to offer per Oregon’s COVID-19 restrictions.”

The district will schedule each senior individually over the course of several days for the larger high schools.

In order to be able to have these in-person stage walks, the state asks the districts to:

· Limit the size of groups; therefore, we are asking that your party consist of a senior and no more than six family members.

· Maintain physical distance of 6-feet between attendees.

· Have attendees and staff wear face masks. (Seniors can remove the mask for their stage walk.)

· Remind individuals to stay home if they are sick or have a family member sick with symptoms resembling the flu or coronavirus.

· Ask vulnerable people, such as those with underlying conditions and older adults, to stay home and not attend this event.

The ceremonies will have ‘one-way’ foot traffic during these events to limit the possible spread of COVID-19 and will ask all attendees to sanitize their hands before entering, and upon exiting, our schools.

Principals will be reaching out to students in the coming weeks with their arrival schedules so they can plan accordingly.

The rest of Mikalson’s letter is below:

Graduation Ceremony Update

We are hard at work putting your graduation ceremonies together, which will be aired live on your graduation day. Thanks to the more than 550 students and parents/guardians who shared their favorite commencement elements and suggestions for what they would like to see in these shows. We are looking forward to weaving these ideas in – between your student speakers, graduate photos, and more. These are shaping up to be fun shows that will be a unique keepsake for the Class of 2020.

These graduation shows will be streamed live locally on COTV channel 11 (611 HD) on the original graduation date:

· Bend Senior High School – June 6 at 3 p.m.

· Bend Tech Academy at Marshall High School – June 8 at 7 p.m.

· La Pine High School – June 5 at 7 p.m.

· Mountain View High School – June 6 at 10 a.m.

· Summit High School – June 4 at 7 p.m.

As a reminder, families have many ways to see the ceremony, which will be aired on COTV and streamed live on social media.

2021 Graduation Ceremony We encourage all members of the Class of 2020 to walk at our June, 2021 graduation ceremonies, if they would like.

Billboard Takeover Today we are also excited to share that community billboards celebrating graduating seniors at each of our five high schools are being installed next week. Seniors, when you see these signs – know that we are proud of you and are thinking of you. Find details, locations and images on our webpage.

This year is certainly not going as any of us expected, but it is still worth celebrating, thanks to all of you and the community we create together. Thank you for your spirit, your resilience and your compassion.


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