Graduation Ceremonies Now Allowed with Restrictions

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– Starting April 1, students, parents, and educators across San Bernardino County can once again enjoy the tradition of an in-person graduation ceremony, with specific restrictions. The new standards also apply to the reopening of amusement parks, live concerts and sporting events.

Specifically, outdoor venues (including sports stadiums and amusement parks), may open to 15% capacity outdoors and indoors (with time limits).  Graduation ceremonies, sporting events and concerts and will be permitted in venues that meet certain criteria, including:

  • The venue must be a permanent and fixed facility, focused around a stage round, field court, or other central area designed primarily for viewing entertainment or athletics by an audience.
  • The facility must either be open to the sky or have at least 50% of the total perimeter open — i.e., there are no walls, doors, windows, dividers, or other physical barriers that restrict air flow, whether open or closed.
  • Seat assignments must be marked clearly with at least six feet of distance between household groups.
  • There must be permanent or added barriers to create at least 12 feet of space between the audience and the stage.

“This is great news for anyone longing to see their child graduate from school, or just get outside and enjoy a concert or watch a ball game,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “This news is especially welcome now, as weather conditions make outdoor events particularly inviting.”

Other specifics regarding commencement/graduation ceremonies

“We’re excited that students, teachers, families and school administrators will be able to celebrate the milestone of graduation,” said Hagman. “But it is still important to remain cautious and take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Such cautionary steps include:

  • Conducting ceremonies outdoors in open-air venues offering unrestricted airflow.
  • Requiring attendees to wear masks and maintain physical distance from others outside their immediate households. All attendees, including school staff, performers, students and families are counted toward any occupancy capacity limit.
  • Requiring attendees to sign up in advance of the ceremony, and limiting attendance to those who have pre-registered.
  • Screening (including self-screening) attendees for COVID symptoms, with schools establishing expectations according to public health guidelines.

If possible, districts and schools are strongly encouraged to send students their diplomas, caps and gowns prior to the ceremony so they can arrive dressed and with their diplomas in hand. Also, those schools planning to host multiple ceremonies during a single day must allow for at least two hours between ceremonies, which will help prevent attendees from separate events from mixing.

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