Updated Interim Guidance for Graduation Celebrations During the COVID-19 State of Emergency

June 16, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under Communication, COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce, Regulations

Last modified June 17, 2020

The New York State Department of Health has issued a new update regarding graduation celebrations. In response to New York’s continued success to contain the spread of COVID-19 and in alignment with Governor Cuomo’s strategic approach for a phased reopening, this updated guidance provides additional alternative graduation celebration options, including outdoor in- person graduations.

While the celebration of graduation is encouraged, it must be done while maintaining public health precautions for COVID-19. COVID-19 is thought to primarily spread person-to-person via respiratory droplets through close contact. As a result, large gatherings present a significant risk to individuals and communities. Therefore, NYSDOH offers these alternative graduation celebrations for school districts to consider:

-Virtual Celebrations. Districts and schools can honor graduating students virtually. Examples include virtual ceremonies and videos.

-Celebrations that Maintain Social Distancing. While virtual events are strongly encouraged, allowable in-person graduation events include drive-in ceremonies, drive-through ceremonies, individualized ceremonies, and starting June 26, outdoor in-person ceremonies may occur with certain restrictions.

Districts should consult with local public health departments, law enforcement, and legal counsel when planning any in-person events.

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