After Gov. Andrew Cuomo opened the doors for graduation ceremonies with social-distancing parameters, Islip Union Free School District announced the following day that their seniors will begin to …
After Gov. Andrew Cuomo opened the doors for graduation ceremonies with social-distancing parameters, Islip Union Free School District announced the following day that their seniors will begin to graduate on the first day the state’s orders allow.
The parameters are only allowing 150 students per ceremony, so the district had to divide the senior class into four sections, wrote superintendent Ellen Semel and Islip High School principal Jon LaRochester in a letter to parents and guardians dated June 8.
“We divided the class alphabetically into four equal sections. The sections were each placed into a fish bowl. Our valedictorian and salutatorian picked out of the fish bowl to determine the order in which each section would be scheduled,” the letter reads.
Two of the four sections will graduate on June 26, and the following two will graduate the following day. Last names spanning alphabetically from La-Pe represent the first section to walk at 4:30 p.m., and Pi-Z will follow suit at 7 p.m. The third section, A-De, will graduate on June 27 at 8 a.m., and Del-K will be the last section of four to have their ceremony, at 11 a.m.
Each of the four ceremonies will last one hour and 45 minutes, and students are granted two tickets for the particular ceremony they are participating in. If a student does not use one or both of their tickets, they may not transfer their tickets to anyone else. Tickets will also indicate the section on campus where cars should be parked. All visitors must wear a mask while getting to the field. Students will also sit with their two guests.
“Parents/guardians will be seated with their senior directly on the field,” the letter reads. “Each family unit will create a triad. Each triad will be spaced at least six feet from one another.”
Teachers, administrators, and the board of education will be in attendance and seated in front of the bleachers. No other spectators will be permitted. When the ceremony is over, students and their families will be dismissed by section.
Seniors cannot switch the section in which they are assigned to graduate.
“The logistics of setting up this type of ceremony are complicated,” the letter continues. “Please understand that we have very little flexibility. We have a small window in which we must prepare. This has been a challenging spring. We are determined that this long-awaited ceremony not only marks the culmination of 13 years of education, but is a joyous tribute to everyone’s perseverance and resolve. Thank you all for your patience.”