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Proposals and Petition for a Safe In-Person Graduation - If Restrictions Allow

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2020 SENIOR CLASS PROPOSALS & PETITION FOR SAFE, IN-PERSON GRADUATION CEREMONIES

     As senior year students who have suffered along with everyone else during this pandemic, we are grateful for all that our schools, teachers and school district have done to make sure we are safe and well educated during this uncertain time. It’s been extremely hard to give up so many experiences that we should have had in this last semester of our senior year, but we have understood. Students of Granite School District have struggled through many hardships during their high school career and despite these struggles, have managed to persevere with the goal of graduation in mind. Taking away a physical graduation ceremony will feel like these efforts are being discounted, and be extremely disappointing. As we move forward, we are hopeful that the pandemic will ease enough for us to have at least one experience we’ve looked forward to most of our lives…an in-person graduation ceremony. Please see below a list of proposals that we hope principals and district administration will consider so that we can have a safe, yet celebratory, in-person graduation ceremony. Thank you! 


1 – POSTPONE GRADUATION IN GRANITE DISTRICT - This is the first preferred proposal we’d like the district to consider. We don’t care how long it has to be postponed for, if we can get to a point when social restrictions are lifted enough to allow in-person graduations of any kind then we’d prefer to wait until June or July. In addition, the College Board revised their testing schedule and now there will be 3 AP tests held on Friday, May 22nd at 10am, 12pm, and 2pm. This is the same day when half of the high schools in our district are set to hold graduation. Taking an AP test on the same day we graduate would really ruin the day, so again, postponing would be best. We suggest surveying seniors to have them indicate if they’d attend a postponed ceremony, then mail diplomas to students who wouldn’t attend and plan a ceremony for those who would.

2 – MOVE THE GRADUATION VENUE TO EACH HIGH SCHOOL - To avoid having thousands of people gathering at one massive venue on graduation day – the Huntsman Center at the University of Utah – move the graduations to each high school. Outside fields could be used or gyms and auditoriums. An outdoor ceremony would especially allow for space between guests and graduates if social distancing rules apply. If gathering in small groups of only 10 or 20 is necessary then perhaps creative use of different rooms in the school combined with some type of streaming to others viewing the ceremony could be figured out. 

3 – LIMIT THE NUMBER OF GUESTS AT GRADUATION - A system of assigning a certain number of graduation tickets per student should be instituted. While it is fun for some students to have large family groups see them graduate, it isn’t necessary. Cutting the guest number down to 2 per student could help control crowd size, more easily maintain social distancing restrictions if needed, and also keep the ceremony more dignified as often large groups of guests break the rules about air horns, calling out inappropriately, confetti, etc. An online ticketing system to avoid exchanging paper between people could be used. If high schools become the graduation venues, principals and staff would have more control in setting up chairs or assigning seating to stay within social distancing restrictions as well. Additionally, streaming the ceremony to family/friends that are not able to come because of guest limits could be considered. 

4 – HEALTH SAFETY - Require ceremony attendees to wear masks if that is a public health recommendation. Only speakers would remove them for speeches and graduates could remove them for the picture with their diploma, then put them back on. Use temperature guns/thermometers and scan everyone as they enter. If possible, have hand sanitizer available as everyone enters the venue. Send out graduation programs electronically in advance, they could be printed off individually at home or at a later date. Have all attendees sign a disclosure that details requirements to attend and that they agree to follow requirements. Attendees must sign disclosure to be allowed to attend. 


*The number one proposal on this list is first for a reason. We would like the district to wait longer to see how the pandemic and social restrictions evolve before moving ahead with only plans for a virtual graduation. Thus postponing is most important to us. If health restrictions from the state and nation still apply when a later date is chosen, then it’s our hope that the other three solutions could be implemented before resorting to a virtual ceremony. (Proposals are flexible to the school and health guidelines that may or may not be in affect at the time of the ceremony)

CONCERNS ABOUT TECHNOLOGY/VIRTUAL GRADUATION:

1- ACCESS TO INTERNET AND DEVICES - Many students throughout Granite School District do not have reliable access to the internet, some don’t have any access at all. This would restrict some students from being able to attend a virtual graduation. For those who may have access to the internet, many problems could exist with video and audio delays. Whether the student has a reliable connection to the internet or not, delays become an issue. Assuming everyone who wants to support a graduate is allowed to join, there could be a higher potential of overloading a server, thereby causing technical problems and ruining the ceremony.

2- SECURITY ISSUES - Recently, there have been many incidents in which online meetings of this sort have been disrupted by hackers. Having so many people in one online event could make it more susceptible to hacking and pranks from students and guests. Even with a password to join the meeting, many people could find a way to access it. 

 



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