Today Tipton County’s high schools made a much-anticipated announcement: Graduation ceremonies are happening next month.
It will happen differently in a world battling COVID-19, with schools splitting graduates up and instituting other requirements, such as a limited number of guests, to allow for social distancing. School officials know limiting guests doesn’t accommodate entire families, however they must stay within the recommendations from the governor’s office in order to ensure graduates are able to have a commencement ceremony.
Here’s how each school plans to do it:
Brighton High School
Graduation will take place on Thursday, May 14 and will be split into two ceremonies.
The first will take place at 5 p.m. and will include the top 25 students and those with the last names starting with A-J.
The second will take place at 8 p.m. for students with last names beginning with K-Z.
Graduates will process, be seated and recess six feet from one another. Their seats will be disinfected in between ceremonies.
Seating for guests
Students will receive 4 tickets for guests. The stadium will open an hour prior to the ceremony to allow guests to be seated in their designated area, which will be randomly chosen during cap and gown pickup the week prior. Each seating area will be distanced from others and will be disinfected between ceremonies.
Do not meet on the field
Following the ceremony, graduates will recess into the parking lot where they will meet with their families. Usually, after graduation, families meet their graduates on the football field for photos, but that will not be permitted this year.
Drive-through ceremony an option
BHS is also offering a drive-through ceremony for those who prefer to keep their distance from crowds. A five-minute individualized ceremony can be hosted after May 15 for two vehicles to watch students walk across the stage. The graduate’s name will be called and family members will be allowed to step out of their vehicle for photos.
Students can participate in either the group or individual ceremony, not both. Final decisions must be made the day students pick up their cap and gown.
Covington High School
There will be two graduation ceremonies on Monday, May 18, one at 6 p.m. and the other at 8:30 p.m.
The first ceremony will include students whose last names begin with A-L, the Top 10 and class president.
The second will include students whose last names begin with M-Z, the top three students and the class president.
Graduates will process, be seated and recess six feet apart. Following the 6 p.m. ceremony, graduates will drive to Crestview Middle School to pick up their diploma and return their gown. Graduates in the second ceremony will return their gowns in the gym lobby and promptly exit the campus.
Seating for guests
Students will receive 4 tickets for guests. Families must sit six feet apart and skip every other row to maintain social distancing. It is recommended guests wear masks as an extra precaution.
Do not meet on the field
Families are asked not to enter the football field after the ceremony has ended.
Munford High School
MHS will host mini-ceremonies on Saturday, May 16, beginning at 9 a.m. Mini-ceremonies will continue at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
This will be an outside event with guidelines to ensure social distancing and safety.
Details will be announced to seniors during a 2 p.m. Zoom call with principal Dr. Courtney Fee.
Tipton Rosemark Academy
The school is hoping to host graduation on Saturday, June 20. A back-up date of July 25 has been planned.
Tipton Christian Academy
The school’s first graduating class will cross the stage for their diplomas on either Saturday, June 13 at 3 p.m. or Saturday, July 11 at 10:30 a.m.
The last day students attended in-person classes was Friday, March 13. The school closure was announced that evening and on April 15 Gov. Bill Lee recommended schools remain closed for the rest of the school year.
The last quarter of the school year was lost to COVID-19, which includes end of the year awards programs, Oscars Night for some high school seniors, graduations for middle and elementary schools and more.
Students’ grades on March 20 are their final grades for the 2019-20 school year.