Pomp and Circumstance in a pandemic: Lee County to hold high school graduation ceremonies

Mike Still • Jun 1, 2020 at 2:00 PM

JONESVILLE — The Class of 2020 at Lee and Thomas Walker high schools will march to receive their degrees — in ceremonies designed for social distancing and other COVID-19 pandemic safety measures.

Lee County Superintendent Brian Austin said Friday that both schools will hold commencement ceremonies where each student and their family will be scheduled in relays for an individual diploma ceremony. Lee High will hold a three-day series of diploma presentations Thursday through Saturday, June 4-6, while Thomas Walker’s graduates will receive their diplomas throughout Saturday, June 6.

Austin said the ceremonies will comply with state law and Gov. Ralph Northam’s emergency orders related to the pandemic.

“We want to keep each presentation to 10 people, and we’ll arrange it so the school principals will not make contact with the students,” Austin said.

Times for the ceremonies are not being made public to help maintain small numbers of people at the school, Austin said. At the ceremonies, each diploma will be placed on a table for the students to collect.

In keeping with Northam’s order mandating the wearing of face coverings, all ceremony participants are required to wear face masks, Austin said.

In a statement Thursday, Austin thanked LENOWISCO Health District Director Dr. Sue Cantrell for her help in developing the graduation plan. He also credited students’ families for their support.

“We are proud to have been a part of your lives,” Austin said.

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