Fayette County Schools will conduct belated graduation ceremonies for its high school seniors on Saturday, Aug. 1, according to Superintendent Terry George.
Ceremonies on that day will occur as follows: Meadow Bridge High (9:30 a.m.), Midland Trail High (1:30 p.m.) and Oak Hill High (6 p.m.) The ceremonies will occur on the respective schools' football fields.
The county's three public high school graduation ceremonies were originally scheduled for this weekend, but those plans had to be altered due to health guidelines associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Various options have been discussed in recent weeks with central office personnel, board of education members, and staff and students from the three schools. George said he didn't want the decision on how and when to stage graduation to be a "top-down" decision. "We didn't try to dictate. We involved our kids and our building principals."
On Aug. 1, the students will get the chance to walk across the stage and accept their diplomas, albeit a couple months later than anticipated due to the pandemic.
"They get to walk across the stage to pick up their diplomas," George said of the graduating seniors. If social distancing measures are still in place, the seniors will look "6 feet to their left and 6 feet to their right" and watch their fellow seniors share in the big day.
If pandemic-related guidelines permit at that time, parents will be allowed to sit in the bleachers to view the event, George said. Allowing the parents to see their child accept their diploma was one of the driving forces behind the eventual decision. "We hope conditions will ease enough to get the parent in the bleachers," he said.
If that is not possible, then parents will be permitted to attend the ceremony and watch their student graduate via a jumbo screen provided by the county. It was available on Aug. 1, George said, and ceremonies have been staggered enough that the jumbo screen can be on hand at each location. George likened the screen to one utilized at a NASCAR race, many which he's attended over the years.
The commencement services will also be broadcast on WZTS, Cozi TV, WZTS Facebook, Roku TV (WZTS as the identifier), and The River 107.7 FM.
George praised the seniors and their leaders for persevering under less-than-ideal conditions.
"I congratulate not only the senior class but their parents and their teachers and their principals," he said. "It's a tremendous accomplishment under truly adverse conditions.
"Our seniors ... rallied around themselves. They are truly amazing, outstanding young people. I'm so proud of these kids."
George will retire on June 30, so he won't be superintendent on Aug. 1, but "all three principals have invited me back, and I'll be there."
Closer to the ceremony, representatives from each school will don their caps and gowns and do a promotion to run on Cozi TV, George said.
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