PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, area high schools are working to figure out how to hold graduation ceremonies that meet state safety requirements and prioritize the health of all attendees. Below are the plans announced by each school as they stand currently. WTAP will update this information as new details are released.
Parkersburg High School: According to Superintendent of Wood County Schools William Hosaflook, graduation ceremonies are scheduled for June 26. Exactly what kind of ceremony will be held, though, is still being determined. The school hopes for an in-person ceremony, however the number of attendees may be limited, and there is still the possibility that the ceremony will have to be held virtually.
Parkersburg South: The school is planning to hold its ceremony on June 25. According to Hosaflook, the goal is to hold an in-person ceremony if conditions allow, however there is a chance it will need to be held virtually. There is also the possibility that, if graduation is held in person, the number of attendees may need to be limited.
Williamstown High School: Graduation is currently scheduled for June 27. The school hopes the ceremony will be in-person, though there is the possibility it will need to be held virtually. The school also notes the possibility of limiting the number of attendees, according to Hosaflook.
Parkersburg Catholic: The school’s graduation ceremony, originally scheduled for May 22, has been postponed. The hope is that the ceremony will be held in person, though it might need to be held virtually. The school is collaborating with its senior class to discuss alternatives, said a school representative.
Wood County Christian: Graduation will be held on June 6 at 11am at Evergreen Bible Church. Currently, the school has not announced any limitations on the number of attendees. However, social distancing will be required, with attendees sitting in every other pew and wearing face masks, said Jane Smith, the school’s operations administrator.
St. Mary’s High School: The school is currently planning to hold an in-person ceremony on the originally scheduled date of May 24, unless the situation prohibits it. The ceremony will be held outdoors, with attendees staying in their cars and graduates being given their diplomas in front of the school. And if conditions allow, the school would like to also hold a more traditional ceremony later in the summer, according to Michael Wells, Pleasants County superintendent.
Marietta High School: Currently, a virtual graduation is scheduled for the third weekend of May. Students will enter the auditorium, along with a small number of family members, where they will be filmed and presented with their diplomas. The event will be recorded and the video will be released on May 24, according to Will Hampton, superintendent of Marietta City Schools. There will also be a senior parade on May 24. The school hopes to also hold an in-person event during the summer, possibly July 31.
Belpre High School: The school’s graduation ceremony will be held virtually on May 16. The first half-hour of the event will include introducing the graduates, as well as speeches from the valedictorian and class president. Students will be assigned specific times, in five-mintue increments, at which to arrive at the school and be filmed walking across the stage and receiving their diplomas. Students will also be briefly interviewed as they leave the school. Up to six family members may accompany each graduate. The event will be streamed live and recorded, according to Sam Pepper, the school’s principal.
Warren High School: According to Principal Ryan Lemley, graduation is currently scheduled for July 31, though it has not yet been determined whether the ceremony will be held virtually or in person.
Waterford High School: The school is currently planning for a virtual graduation with students receiving their diplomas. They are reserving June 28th and July 26th as dates to hold a traditional graduation if permitted at that time, according to Suellen Coleman, the school's principal.
Fort Frye High School: The school tentatively has a virtual ceremony scheduled for May 23, with an in-person event possibly happening either on June 27 or August 1, according to a representative of the school.
Frontier High School : On the school's day of graduation, Friday May 22, students will be coming to the school in their cars with their families. One family at a time, a limit of six, will come into the gymnasium, the student's name will be read and they will receive their diploma. The school photographer will catch that moment and all will be videoed. Families will exit out of another door, have an opportunity for family pictures and then leave the school grounds. The goal is to have the video edited and ready to give to the students a week later.