SPOONER– With the time drawing near for graduation and the circumstances anything but ordinary due to COVID-19, schools are looking at how to celebrate their students’ accomplishment while incorporating as many traditional activities as they can.
For Spooner, that is beginning to look like it will be a ceremony on July 16, the option the board considered during its Committee of the Whole meeting on May 4 and will vote on at it regular board meeting on Monday, May 18.
Superintendent Dave Aslyn said it has been a heartbreaking time.
“The Class of 2020 has worked hard for 13 years,” he said. “Now in the face of a pandemic, the likes of which we haven’t seen in our country for over a century, kids have to persevere, and our ability to recognize them in a way that everybody would like to see them recognized has been impacted.”
While the state is still under the Safer at Home order until May 26, when the Badger Bounce Back Plan kicks in, it outlines three phases for gatherings, based on specific matrixes being met across the state: Phase 1, 10 people maximum; Phase 2, 50 people maximum; and Phase 3, no maximum.
What phase the state is in and what restrictions are in place will affect how the postponed graduation will commence.High School Principal Dennis Scherz presented three possible scenarios.
Plan A would be to have the students walk across the stage but limit the number of spectators and livestream the event.
Plan B would be a livestream of students graduating, but with no spectators in the audience.
Plan C would be livestreamed recordings with no graduates or audience in attendance.
Board president Deb Olson, as a parent, suggested moving those down to Plans B, C, and D, and topping them with Plan A being a regular graduation ceremony.
“That’s all of our hope,” Scherz said. He also noted that the motivation behind the planning is what is best for the students.
Birchwood School has postponed its graduation until Thursday, July 30, at 7 p.m.
Three plans are in place:
> Plan A: Students and parents will be present
> Plan B: Just the students will be present.
> Plan C: Virtual graduation.
“We will decide as we get closer to that date,” said Superintendent Diane Johnson.
A pair of plans are in the works at Northwood School, pending circumstances as the time draws near.
A virtual graduation ceremony and scholarships awards will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 22
A second celebration will be held on Saturday, July 11. That could range from “limited in-person attendance on our football field to a very modified version of what is allowable based on the Badger Bounce Back Plan,” said Superintendent Scot Kelly. “We are gathering more ideas for the July 11th date today for consideration at our next Board meeting on Thursday [May 14].”
He said the virtual ceremony could include all of the traditional ceremonies but with recordings. Students will submit pictures of them in their cap and gown, and the speeches will be recorded and music played through the app Acapella.
Shell Lake will hold what it hopes will be a traditional graduation ceremony on Friday, July 31, at 6 p.m.
"The safer at home rules do not allow us to offer a June date," said Superintendent Dave Bridenhagen. "In the event that restrictions still exist that prohibit us doing a traditional graduation, a decision will be made on Monday, July 6. If we are not able to do a conventional ceremony, we will begin putting together a virtual ceremony that will include speeches, a creative way to distribute diplomas, and incorporate a slide show of student pictures."