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Tickets for guests will be issued to each graduate based on the county's COVID risk level

PIONEER FILE PHOTO - Madras and Bridges seniors will graduate during outdoor ceremonies at the football stadium Saturday, June 5. Tickets will be required for guests.

Madras and Bridges high school seniors will graduate during in-person ceremonies Saturday, June 5 at the outdoor football stadium.

An April 29 press release from Madras High School said the decision was made after a considerable amount of senior family input in combination with staff's best efforts to gauge Jefferson County COVID risk assessments.

A ceremony for the 51 Bridges High School graduates will begin at 9 a.m. June 5 at the MHS football stadium. The ceremony for the 137 Madras High School graduates will follow at 11:30 a.m.

In order to ensure that the total number of people does not exceed the allowable capacity in the stadium during graduation, tickets will be issued to each graduate for both MHS and Bridges ceremonies. The total number of tickets provided to each graduate will be based on the COVID risk level for Jefferson County as of June 2, the last time the county is assessed prior to graduation.

If Jefferson County is in the low-risk category, the district will provide six tickets to each MHS graduate and 16 tickets per Bridges graduate. If the county is in high risk, MHS graduates will get two tickets each, and Bridges students will get four.

Tickets will be handed out to graduates during the senior awards ceremony on June 3.

"Graduation is such an important event for our graduates and their families," said MHS Principal Brian Crook. "We will do everything we can to support our graduates while keeping them safe and healthy during COVID."

All COVID guidelines will be followed during the celebrations, including social distancing and masks.

Both the MHS and Bridges ceremonies will be livestreamed and recorded.

Staff surveyed senior graduates and their parents, asking if they would prefer a traditional graduation ceremony in the football stadium that required tickets to manage the number of family members that could attend, or if they'd prefer a drive-thru ceremony similar to last year's ceremony.

"Families very clearly communicated that they'd prefer to have a more traditional ceremony outdoors at the stadium, even if that meant tickets," the press release stated.

A second survey after the county's COVID risk level started to fluctuate confirmed the decision.

The majority of graduates and parents alike were not willing to give up watching the entire graduating class walk across the stage, even if it meant fewer tickets per graduate.

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