On April 22, Salem-Keizer Public Schools (SKPS) Superintendent Christy Perry met with leaders from the Class of 2020 to discuss commencement plans. Joined by their high school principals, the students shared their wishes to prioritize in-person graduation ceremonies, even if it means delaying them, over virtual ceremonies conducted at previously scheduled times.
Today, Perry met again with student leaders to review the district’s prioritized goals for graduation ceremonies, which the students approved.
Priority one: a full, public graduation ceremony to take place the first week of August. This will look very similar to graduation ceremonies from previous years.
If, due to Governor Brown’s direction, social distancing guidelines prevent priority one from being executed, priority two will be: a smaller scale personal ceremony that will include just the graduate and their immediate family or just the graduates if that is all that is allowable at the time.
If, due to Governor Brown’s direction, social distancing guidelines prevent priority two from being executed, priority three will be: a virtual graduation ceremony that will follow the look and feel of a traditional ceremony, including speeches from students and community members. Diplomas will be presented in a manner that adheres to social distancing guidelines and public health guidelines, with the priority being a hand-delivered diploma.
The tentative graduation plan is:
Aug. 2 – Black/African American Graduation Celebration, 3-5 p.m., location TBA
Aug. 3 – AVID Senior Recognition, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Oregon State Fairgrounds Pavilion
Aug. 4 – West Salem High Commencement, 10 a.m.-noon, Oregon State Fairgrounds Pavilion
Aug. 4 – Sprague High Commencement, 10 a.m.-noon, Sprague High
Aug. 5 – McKay High Commencement, 10 a.m.-noon, Oregon State Fairgrounds Pavilion
Aug. 5 – Roberts High Commencement, time TBA, Elsinore Theater
Aug. 6 – North Salem High Commencement, 10 a.m.-noon, Oregon State Fairgrounds Pavilion
Aug. 6 – Early College High School Commencement, time TBA, Elsinore Theater
Aug. 7 – McNary Commencement, 10 a.m.-noon, Oregon State Fairgrounds Pavilion
Aug. 8 – South Commencement, 10 a.m.-noon, Oregon State Fairgrounds Pavilion
Eagle Feather Ceremony – TBD
Community Transition Program Ceremony – TBD
Pacific Islander Graduation Celebration – TBD
The decision about in-person graduations will be made by July 6 and shared publicly at that time.
“I am so proud of our senior class representatives who sat down and had really honest conversations with me about their expectations,” said Perry. “Not only did they help our district leadership with the decision-making process, but they also exhibited just the kind of confidence and understanding that will take them far in life.”
There are just more than 2,600 students in the Class of 2020. Approximately 1,900 of them completed the requirements to graduate when the emergency closure began on March 13. School representatives are working with the students who are credit-deficient with individualized learning plans to earn credits for an on-time graduation.
Beginning next week, seniors can collect their caps and gowns and return any Chromebooks or textbooks. These handoffs are being scheduled at the schools and will adhere to social distancing guidelines.
The schedule for pick-ups and returns is:
May 5 – South Salem High School
May 7 – McNary High School, Early College High School, Teen Parent Program and Baker
May 8 – North Salem High School
May 11 – McKay High School
May 12 – West Salem High School
May 13 – Sprague High School
May 14 – Roberts High School
To stay up-to-date on the SKPS emergency closure, go to www.salkeiz.k12.or.us.