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ECHS graduation format changed tonight

Escambia County High School Principal Amy Cabaniss said late last week that tomorrow’s graduation will be held in the football stadium with social-distancing guidelines in place.

Cabaniss said the county board of education made the decision at its board meeting on May 14. This applies to each of the three county high schools.

“We will do everything we can to honor the social distancing,” Cabaniss said.

Cabaniss said all the details are being worked out for graduation.

Superintendent John Knott released a statement on the school system’s Facebook page, detailing the social-distancing guidelines for each high school’s graduation.

“Last Friday, Gov. (Kay) Ivey issued an amended order that provides flexibility for school districts to hold a more traditional type of graduation ceremony to recognize the class of 2020,” Knott said. “However, the ceremonies must remain in compliance with both social distancing and safety parameters.”

Knott said the board met today to review and reevaluate its commencement plans.

“Once again, we consulted with the department of health and the Alabama State Department of Education,” he said. “Our main priority is to celebrate our students in a safe and responsible way.”

Knott said that each of the three high schools’ graduation ceremonies will be held in their respective football stadiums.

“We are looking forward to celebrating the class of 2020 by providing our seniors with this opportunity to come together and share this momentous occasion,” he said.

School administrators are working to develop a detailed agenda and instructions for the ceremony at their respective schools. Each school will be sharing this information with their seniors and the community, he said.

Knott said the following guidelines will be in place:
• Social distancing guidelines requiring six feet between members of different households will be enforced prior to, during, and after the ceremony. For this reason, each senior will be allowed to invite 4 guests to the ceremony. All children, including infants, will be required to have a ticket.
• Strongly recommend that all guests wear a face mask.
• Ensure strict compliance with all Department of Public Health and CDC guidelines.
• We will not be able to allow you to take pictures in the parking lot or socialize outside prior to the ceremony.
• Once you are parked, you will be directed from your vehicle into the stadium. In an effort to adhere to local and state guidelines, attendees will not be allowed to remain in their vehicles, or congregate along the fence line.
• Once family members enter the stadium, they will be directed to a designated seat. Seats will be arranged in groups of four, and you will be shown where your seat is located. No more than four people will be able to sit in each designated area. Attendees will have to remain in their designated seat for the duration of the event.
• You may take pictures from your seat, but will not be allowed to leave your seat to take pictures.
• At the conclusion of the ceremony, senior graduates will march from the stadium to the assigned area. At that point, they will collect their essential belongings and documents, and then return to their vehicle for immediate departure.
• Spectators will be dismissed by sections, in an orderly fashion, and then return to their vehicle, and disembark from that point. We will not be allowed to have people on the field after the ceremony.