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The Hillsboro School District will hold traditional graduation ceremonies unless the county is in 'extreme risk.'

PMG FILE PHOTO - Jaxson Lake poses for a picture for his family during Liberty High School's graduation at Hillsboro Stadium in 2020.As the pandemic stretches into its second graduation season, Hillsboro seniors may have two options for graduation ceremonies.

In a message to Hillsboro students and families Wednesday, April 28, Hillsboro School District officials said students will be able to attend either a traditional graduation ceremony or a drive-thru graduation.

Washington County being in the state's "extreme risk" category for COVID-19 would likely prevent tradtional graduations, however, officials said.

Last year, all students who attended their graduation ceremonies participated in drive-thru graduations.

Graduates in decorated cars packed with family and friends drove up to a podium and received their diplomas from school officials while family members were able to take photos.

The announcement gives seniors a choice based on their level of comfortability during the pandemic.

"As we approach the end of the 2020-21 school year, we are cognizant of the need to celebrate our seniors and their accomplishments even amid the ongoing pandemic," district officials said. "Our goal is to have consistency among schools and to be as permissive as possible, while still acting responsibly and following all necessary health and safety guidelines."

Traditional graduation ceremonies will happen at the Gordon Faber Recreation Complex's Hillsboro Stadium from June 10 through June 12.

• Century High School: 7 p.m. June 10

• Glencoe High School: 4 p.m. June 11

• Hillsboro High School: 10 a.m. June 12

• Liberty High School: 2 p.m. June 12

Drive-thru graduations will take place at the district's Hare Field from June 9 through June 12.

• Century High School: 4:30-8 p.m. June 9

• Glencoe High School: 6:30-10 p.m. June 11

• Liberty High School: 8:30 a.m.-noon June 12

• Hillsboro High School: 1-4:30 p.m. June 12

The Hillsboro Online Academy and Miller Education Center will only hold drive-thru graduations, but graduates can request to be included in their home high school's traditional graduation. Miller's drive-thru graduation will be from 7-8:30 p.m. June 10. The Online Academy's will be on campus from 2-5:30 p.m. June 9.

Graduates won't know how many people they can invite to their traditional graduation ceremony until June, however.

District officials said Washington County's risk level designation by the state on June 1 will determine how many people can attend traditional graduation ceremonies.

"The capacity of the (Hillsboro) Stadium grandstands is approximately 4,000, so if we are in the 'Lower Risk' category, we could theoretically invite up to 2,000 guests," the district stated in an announcement this week. "If we are in 'Moderate Risk,' up to 1,000 guests; if we are in 'High Risk,' up to 600 guests."

It's also possible the district would need to cancel traditional graduations if Washington County is in the "extreme risk" category come June.

"If we are in 'Extreme Risk,' we will likely have to revert to an all drive-through model," officials said.

Officials hope to allow students to invite at least two guests to traditional graduations but they said the actual number will depend on the county's risk level.

Additionally, traditional graduations will be live-streamed. Officials said they're working to have the technology necessary to live-stream drive-thru graduations at Hare Field. All graduations will be video recorded, creating one graduation video for each school, officials said.

As was the case last year, one car will be allowed per graduate at the drive-thru graduations.

Graduates will need to respond to a survey from their school between May 7 and May 14 about which graduation option they intend to choose, officials said.


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