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Acadia Parish schools change course on graduation ceremonies

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Posted at 2:42 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 16:19:23-04

Acadia Parish Schools are changing course when it comes to graduation ceremonies this year.

Earlier this month, APSS officials had released a plan for graduation that limited the activities, in keeping with the stay-at-home order that was in place at the time.

But now that the order is allowing more contact, schools now will have the ability to hold some larger group gatherings, with social distancing in place. On Wednesday Superintendent Scott Richard updated students and parents, to let them know about the new guidelines.

Midland High school will have their ceremonies on May 22nd and will have the graduation in a designated area at the track facility at Midland High.

Crowley High at the Crowley Middle School Campus, Rayne High at the Rayne High football stadium, Church Point at the Church Point High football stadium and Iota High at the Iota High football stadium. Those are set for Saturday May 23, 2020.

Richard says that students will be limited to 3 tickets for guests that will allow for guests to be seated in bleachers six feet apart and adhering to large group gathering capacity requirements. Persons/guests from the same family will be allowed to sit next to each other while also maintaining separation from others.

Social distancing will be enforced.

Read more from the APSS here from a letter from Superintendent Scott Richard:

Dear Parents & Legal Guardians of Acadia Parish School System Seniors - Class of 2020,

We hope this communication finds you well. As you know, our original plans for graduation ceremonies called for an individualized process for commencement exercises. After further review and consideration of the recent Phase 1 Reopening Guidelines put forth by Governor Edwards that will go into effect on Friday, May 15th, the leadership teams at the high school level and district level feel as if we can provide for a different graduation ceremony that allows for a larger group gathering as long as social distancing and COVID-19 precautions are strictly followed. The designated dates will remain the same: Friday, May 22nd for Midland High School and Saturday, May 23rd for Crowley High, Rayne High, Iota High and Church Point High schools respectively.

The major change will provide for the following: an outdoor gathering (weather permitting) that will occur in a designated area at each high school with some limitations on the number and placement of attendees. Those designated areas of each campus are: the football stadium for Crowley High School at the Crowley Middle School Campus; the Rayne High football stadium; the Church Point High football stadium; the Iota High football stadium; and, a designated area near the track facility at Midland High. Safety and COVID-19 precautionary measures remain a high priority, therefore, these ceremonies will not resemble previous graduation ceremonies. In order to adhere to the six-foot social distancing guidelines, students will be seated six feet apart on the football field. Students will be limited to 3 tickets for guests that will allow for guests to be seated in bleachers six feet apart and adhering to large group gathering capacity requirements. Persons/guests from the same family will be allowed to sit next to each other while also maintaining separation from others.

We strongly encourage that persons whose health may place them at-risk not attend. We also strongly encourage all attendees to wear a mask for their own safety and for the safety of others. For those unable to attend, we are working to stream the ceremonies via social media. Details are forthcoming from each high school administration regarding the outdoor ceremonies. Finally, we will need to ensure that all social distancing guidelines are adhered to in order to conduct a more meaningful and safe ceremony, therefore, we respectfully encourage everyone to maintain social distancing throughout the process – before the ceremony, during the ceremony and after the ceremony as we all exit the stadium areas.

Each Acadia Parish high school administrative team will send more specific details (individual arrival times, parking areas, staging areas, etc.) regarding the process that will need to be followed to accomplish this most important milestone for our seniors in an organized and safe manner. Again, we appreciate everyone's cooperation as we work to commemorate the accomplishments of the Acadia Parish School System Class of 2020. If inclement weather prohibits the outdoor ceremonies we will revert to the original, individualized ceremonies at each high school.
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