COLORADO SPRINGS — Governor Jared Polis granted authority to county officials to approve proposed graduation ceremony plans.
As a result, El Paso County Public Health (EPCPH) officials have given initial guidance regarding graduation plans. Should the COVID-19 data show the necessity for tightening of restrictions, this guidance includes a requirement that all El Paso County school districts have a back-up virtual graduation plan.
Academy School District 20 (ASD20) freceived more than 400 responses about ideas and thoughts for graduation ceremonies to honor the Class of 2020. After evaluating feedback received from families and students, it is clear the community desires an in-person ceremony, even if that means delaying graduations to a later date.
Although EPCPH has been granted authority to approve plans for graduation ceremonies, the Governor stated anything resembling a “traditional graduation” is not possible this spring or summer.
Therefore, the district is developing two in-person options for approval. One plan mirrors the ceremony held by the USAFA last week and the second includes a scenario where limited family members would accompany the graduate during the ceremony. A virtual plan will also be included.
We will submit our proposal in the coming days and EPCPH will evaluate our request(s) against approved guidance from the state and real-time health data specific to our county. We anticipate this to take approximately two weeks. We will then know exactly how to proceed.
The district is highly confident requesting any form of in-person ceremony on the originally scheduled graduation dates of May 19, 26, and 27 will not be approved. As such, ASD20 is proposing moving graduations to occur between June 20 – 26, 2020 to accommodate all seven ceremonies at an outdoor venue.
Families and students voiced they would prefer a ceremony that is “as normal as possible.”
ASD20 will work in partnership with EPCPH and ultimately proceed with the option that best meets their requirements so we can honor and celebrate our graduates.