UPDATE: KHSD board approves scaled-down physical graduation ceremonies for late June

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UPDATE (May 20): The Kern High School District’s Class of 2020 will get a physical graduation ceremony, but they will take place later than usual and won’t include much of the typical pomp and circumstance.

During a special meeting on Wednesday, the KHSD Board of Trustees agreed to holding graduation ceremonies at school sites the week of June 22, with an optional start time of 8 p.m. due to expected high temperatures. 

The board said plans could change depending on what happens with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order. 

“We’re going to give the kids the best legal graduation the state allows,” Board President Bryan Batey said. 

The ceremonies will be more scaled down than in years past. Students will only be allowed to bring two guests, such as parents or guardians, to the ceremonies. 

All guests will have assigned seats next to their students on the field, eliminating the need for family members to arrive early to save seats in the stands. Students will be called up to pick up a diploma cover. 

Since only two people are allowed per student, attendance is also expected to be significantly lower than in the past. The ceremonies will also not include elements such as bands and speakers, so ceremonies will be shorter than usual. 

“We’re not going to have unlimited crowds, we’re not going to have seat-saving. It’s going to be controlled,” Batey said. 

The board debated on whether to have ceremonies in mid- or late-June but decided on the latter to give the district, schools and families more time to prepare. 

“If we can do it in late June, that affords the district the maximum benefit to have fullest graduation possible. The further we push it back, the better graduation we will have,” Trustee Jeff Flores said. 

UPDATE (May 19): The Kern High School District Board of Trustees will consider approving graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020 during a special meeting on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.

UPDATE: The board took no action on whether graduations will resume this year, and asked KHSD superintendents and staff to work on plans and present them in the coming weeks.

The board asked these questions:

— If the shelter-in-place is lifted in the next few weeks, how could we safely hold live graduations?

— What if we are unable to gather safely due to state guidelines? Will virtual graduations be held? Or are there other options?

The board asked to reconvene in a few weeks before scheduled graduation dates.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Kern High School District is scheduled to decide tonight whether high school graduations will resume before the end of the school year.

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