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By John Dowd 

High schools getting creative for graduation


Arguably the most important part of high school for seniors is graduation. It is the moment kids become adults and students are handed back off to the community to be a part of it, according to Plains Superintendent Thom Chisholm. As with many of the schools in Sanders County, Plains has been working tirelessly to come up with a plan to give their students the graduation they deserve, despite social distancing guidelines due to the coronavirus outbreak. Each school is being forced to come up with clever ways of doing this.

Hot Springs plans on doing their graduation in a semi-normal fashion, with their seniors walking on the football field, and only inviting immediate family that will be cordoned off into their own little groups. Hot Springs has a slightly easier time since they will only have 13 graduates this year. All other visitors may be required to park on the side of the field to watch the proceedings.

Thompson Falls is planning on doing something similar, however the school is debating over a possible outside graduation for seniors and their families. They also plan to possibly stream the event for family unable to make it due to travel restrictions or that are over the persons entry limit that the school may have to set.

Plains has had a plan set since the early days of the quarantine and plan on graduating, as most schools in the county do, on the original day, May 24 at 3 p.m. The graduation will take place at the high school and each student will receive an invitation through the mail. The students will also receive three passes good for one vehicle entry. The whole graduation will act like a “drive-in-movie” according to Chisholm.

Plains will also require the passes to be time specific, so in the case that there is not enough room extra vehicles wanting entry on the date will be given other passes to park in a different location. The vehicles will also have assigned locations to park and staff will usher the vehicles to where they will need to be. All will be required to stay in their vehicles throughout the duration of the event, except for the seniors when they are called up. The graduates will approach the table and pick up their diploma, pose for a picture and then return to their vehicles. All participants will be encouraged to bring mobile devices as a slideshow of pictures will be broadcast throughout the event. Parents are also planning a recessional after the event, which may be a parade. The whole event will be zero contact and will abide by social distancing guidelines.


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