By Woohyun Song
PLACENTIA, CA – Although many students, teachers, and family members are or will be fully vaccinated by the time of graduation, the rise in cases in the United States is still a significant potential risk factor, with the school needing to take necessary precautions as government restrictions on large public gatherings are still in place.
According to the COVID-19 Data Repository by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University, as of May 3rd, 2021, total cases in the United States are currently at 32,610,374, with around 3,745,021 of them from California alone.
Because of the risks that are carried along with having such a large event during a pandemic, many additional precautionary measures have been taken this year. In a notice sent out by the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District (PYLUSD) on March 24th, 2021, it was stated that the district was exploring various methods of hosting the graduation ceremonies in high schools in the district.
As of now, the proposed measures are mostly relating to minimizing the people present at the ceremony in order to maintain social distancing measures. The measures include a maximum number of two spectators per student present at the ceremony (this may change based on updates to public health guidance and for each school), with each party socially distanced; a high quality live stream provided by the school; or an alternative, smaller graduation ceremony option for students and families who feel that the safety measures here are somewhat inadequate or unsafe based on individual circumstances. Further decisions about the graduation ceremonies are said to come from the district at the end of April.
In addition to having an abnormal graduation ceremony, high school students graduating this year are also missing out on many events and perks that often come with being a graduating senior, such as prom, parties with friends, or even having a close conversation with teachers about their future and college lives. According to Mr. Jeffery Louie, to make up for this fact, the school has implemented several actions, such as putting the senior pictures of every graduating senior in front of the school, ordering personalized lawn signs that celebrate graduation, as well as ASB planning celebration events for seniors in the final months of high school.
The 2021 graduation schedule is now uploaded to www.pylusd.org/graduation, with information such as various updates about ceremonies or links for live streams uploaded to here. Information about spectator tickets should be released by the individual schools. Only one type of event – traditional stadium or drive up/walkthrough – may be chosen for each student. Participating students and families must fill out this survey by Friday, May 28th.
Further news of these events will be posted on the ASB Instagram page, @valenciyuhh.