Schools and students prep up in safety measures as grad season nears

(Source: WRDW)
(Source: WRDW)(WRDW)
Published: May. 13, 2020 at 10:14 PM EDT
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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

News 12 at 11 o'clock/NBC at 12

AUGUSTA, GA. (WRDW/WAGT) -- It's not the graduation anyone expected for the class of 2020. From early education to college, commencement ceremonies are having to adapt per CDC guidelines to keep people safe. And school districts are doing just that.

Many have questions like - "How can diplomas be handed out?"

Some in favor - "No worse than people packed in a store or going to the gym. Let these kids have their moment."

And others, not so much -- "I'm 66 and haven't been to a store in months. I have two grandsons graduating and hope to get videos of both."

Aiken County schools opted to hold ceremonies at high school football fields on June 5-6. And Columbia County schools originally planned it at the JBA in July, but ran into obstacles.

"For a graduating class of 330, kids would allow four people per graduate to come. Well, four of our five high schools have graduating classes much larger than that," Dr. Sandra Carraway, superintendent of Columbia County schools, explained.

The Lady A Pavillion was a better option, but due to the heat, the end of May was the only answer. It fits up to 12,000 people, and another catch: you'll have to bring your own chairs and have to wear a mask walking in and out.

"We believe this graduation may be the beginning of a new tradition where Columbia County high schools have our graduation at the Lady A Pavillion every year," Carraway said.

In Richmond County, their largest class has 288 students so they chose to keep it at the JBA.

"There will be limited seating because they are ensuring they are following the guidelines for social distancing," Dr. Lamonica Hillman, assistant superintendent of Richmond County Schools, said.

A ceremony like no other, fitting for the class of 2020.

"This group of young people have seen the world in a way that none of us really have before and have made adjustments," Carrway said. "And I think when this is all over with, they will be better adults."

All three ceremonies will be live broadcasted for anyone who can't make it.

Columbia County schools will also broadcast the pictures of any graduate who can't make it when they announce the name, and will allow four guests per student.

Aiken County schools will allow two per student. Richmond County schools has yet to decide how many guests graduates can invite for their ceremonies.

Information for counties that have sent News 12 graduation information is below:
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