Dear Minisink Valley Class of 2020 and school community:
I’m writing to provide an update on our graduation plans. We indicated today, June 12, would be the day where we would determine what direction we would move in to maximize the best opportunity to have as close to a traditional graduation ceremony as possible on our football field.
The guidance Minisink Valley regularly receives from the governor’s office continues to evolve as the state monitors the state’s COVID-19 caseload. With the steady progress of the state’s phased-in economic reopening happening, we see restrictions are changing and moving in a positive direction. This continued slow, but steady, progress remains critical.
At the same time, our students, parents and community have made it very clear that what’s most important to them is for Minisink Valley to put its best efforts into doing everything possible to have as close to a traditional graduation ceremony as possible, as per past years. They also understand that state mandates and restrictions would require modifications to a traditional graduation ceremony.
Our students routinely reinforce to us they want to be “on the field” with all their peers, at one time, at one ceremony. They want their families and friends watching this momentous occasion in their lives, with minimal restrictions.
We hear what they’re telling us.
Like them, we always understood the importance of a single, traditional graduation, even with expected modifications. And, we have always agreed.
We believe the very best opportunity to see if this can happen is to allow a bit more time to pass to determine what restrictions may change. Because of this, we are postponing any decision on Minisink Valley’s graduation until June 19.
This provides us another week to review and assess evolving state guidance on in-person graduation ceremonies. As an example, we’ve seen changing state and neighboring state guidance on the total numbers of people allowed for in-person graduations in just this past week. Our hope is that this slow and steady progress continues to move in the direction where mandates will again change and allow us to have higher numbers of people onsite for graduation.
We view the evolving guidance as very good news. Like you, we remain very cautiously optimistic that state guidance and mandates continue to increase the number of people allowed onsite.
For now, please continue to hold these dates on your calendars:
- Friday, June 26
A “live” graduation on the football field at 6 p.m. with a rain date of Saturday, June 27 at 1 p.m.
- Backup to June 26: Friday, July 31
If the June 26 date is not possible, we are scheduling July 31 for graduation at 6 p.m. with a rain date of Saturday, Aug. 1 at 1 p.m.
- Backup to July 31: Virtual graduation on July 31
In the event that neither of these dates are permissible, then we would hold a virtual graduation on July 31 by presenting a streaming video of our students via YouTube. This would only be a last resort option.
The health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and everyone visiting our campus always remains our first priority. It’s important to stress these plans remain contingent on federal, state and local mandates which may be in place at the time of graduation.
Thank you for your continued patience, understanding and support of our plans because they will be subject to change, based on the governor’s orders, guidance and decisions about conditions at the time. I will reach out again on June 19.