Grads Amalia Uliniuc, left, and Miranda Miranda hug it out at their graduation from Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School in 2017. Red Deer high schools are preparing alternate plans if COVID-19 restrictions prevent traditional ceremonies (File photo by Black Press news services)

Grads Amalia Uliniuc, left, and Miranda Miranda hug it out at their graduation from Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School in 2017. Red Deer high schools are preparing alternate plans if COVID-19 restrictions prevent traditional ceremonies (File photo by Black Press news services)

Red Deer graduation ceremonies hinge on easing COVID restrictions

Alternative plans developed

Red Deer high schools have prepared alternate graduation plans depending on COVID-19 restrictions that may be in place when it comes time to toss the tasseled caps.

Bruce Buruma, community relations director with Red Deer Public Schools, said Hunting Hills High School has come up with five different scenarios depending on the circumstances. Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School is looking at shifts of 150 students at the Great Chief Park outdoor stage.

“The uncertainty has made it a little challenging in regards to the specific formats for graduation. Our schools have been nimble and responsive,” Buruma said.

“These are significant life events that COVID has really thrown a wrench into. We’re trying to provide the best graduation that we can for students. We know it’s been a difficult year for students, as well as their families.”

Planning is also underway for graduates at Gateway Christian School and Alternative School Centre.

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He said graduation challenges haven’t been limited to just the ceremony. A variety of activities usually take place during the school year.

“Graduation isn’t just one day. It’s the entire Grade 12 year, and it’s been quite limited.”

Buruma said both students and parents have been kept in the planning loop, as schools try to make graduation as meaningful as possible.

Red Deer gets building funds for new Catholic school and a public high school expansion

According to a letter to parents, Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools has planned a June 28 graduation ceremony for École Secondaire Notre Dame High School, but the details will depend on future announcements by Premier Jason Kenney to ease COVID restrictions.

The ceremony will be held in the school gymnasium.

In accordance to current Alberta Health Services guidelines, graduates must stay with their classroom cohorts with a minimum 2-metre distance from those not part of their cohort.

The guidelines currently do not allow audience members, but hopefully parents and guests will be able to attend if the province announces a potential move into Stage 3 on or before June 14.

If guests are allowed, the Centrium has been tentatively booked for the same date and time.

Regardless of the location, the event will be streamed live for parents and families to view.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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