High school administration announces Class of 2020 graduation plans

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Dear Minisink Valley Class of 2020 students and families:

I know Gov. Cuomo’s announcement on May 1 to close schools for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year was very disappointing.  Over the last few weeks you lost your spring events and activities and now you are wondering what will happen to your graduation ceremony.

Please know that the graduation ceremony has been an important part of our discussions, but we needed to wait for the governor’s last announcement before we could make decisions on how to move forward and share the plan with you.

Today, we have finalized our plans and believe that the best way to celebrate your accomplishments are with a “live” graduation on the football field, like you have been dreaming of having.

We are planning two dates, as described below, to provide the maximum potential for a “live” graduation to take place.  As you know, the guidelines to keep everyone safe during the COVID- 19 outbreak continue to change and we do not know what the guidelines will allow for on the dates that we selected.  To prepare for the possibility that we will not be able to host a live graduation, the district is in the process of developing a virtual graduation to make sure that our seniors are recognized for achieving this great milestone of graduation.

It’s important to stress that these plans are contingent on federal, state and local mandates which may be in place at the time of graduation. I appreciate your continued patience, understanding and support of these plans because they will be subject to change, based on orders and guidance from the Governor and decisions about the conditions at the time.

The Minisink Valley Board of Education, district administration, high school administration, faculty and staff are committed to putting our very best efforts into holding a “live” graduation ceremony as follows. This is the three-point plan:

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.  This ceremony will be organized differently than in past years and will be based on what current COVID-19 social distancing mandates may be in place at the time.  Please note: this is a fluid date and will be based on what federal, state and local authorities allow us to do. For now, please continue to keep this date on your calendars.

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. This allows an additional five weeks of time to assess COVID-19 conditions with the hope that conditions would improve and we would be allowed to hold a ceremony on the football field. Keep in mind that this ceremony, like the June 26 ceremony, would also be organized differently than in past years.

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. Because the lead time to produce a video like this requires a significant amount of time, we must start to prepare now, and that’s why you’ll be contacted about your photographic participation.

I know there are more questions than answers at this moment. Thank you again for your support of our commitment to provide the best graduation event we are allowed to present. I will be following up again, once we have more information from the governor’s office.

In the meantime, thank you for responding to the emails that will be coming about your participation in our virtual graduation video. Go Warriors!


Kenneth Hauck