High school to hold eight ‘live’ graduation ceremonies, with four each on July 30 and 31

Cap and gown photo

Dear Class of 2020 students and families:

We have finalized our plans for the Class of 2020 commencement. Our plans are the result of our daily monitoring of New York state guidance, which has always included special mandates for all outdoor graduation ceremonies.

We were hopeful these mandates would be changed to allow larger numbers of people to be part of these ceremonies, but they have not.

As of today, July 20, the mandate remains having a live outdoor event with a maximum of 150 people attending, with no exceptions, in addition to strict protocols to be followed.

We no longer foresee any changes to the numbers of people allowed to gather and we are at a point where we must finalize plans.  Our plans are the result of our thoughtful and very conscientious work to provide a live, on the football field ceremony which, as you know, is what the Class of 2020 said was most important.  We opted to wait until the last possible moment to finalize plans, keeping in mind there are many commencement ceremony logistics we must now address.

cap and gown photoThe plan

Minisink Valley High School will hold eight small graduation ceremonies, with four each to be held on Thursday, July 30 and Friday, July 31.

These eight ceremonies will feature approximately 40 students at a time, with the eight ceremonies representing the full senior class.

We have planned rain dates of Aug. 1 and 2  to accommodate any ceremony that has to be rescheduled for weather.

Because of state mandates, these events are unfortunately closed to all spectators and limited to only the graduate and his/her two selected guests.  Graduates will sit with their guests on the football field.

On these days, access to the campus will be limited only to graduates and their two guests during their assigned times.  Details on accessing the campus that day will be part of a comprehensive email to be sent to students.

The balance of those in attendance will only be essential Board of Education, district administrators, faculty and staff needed to organize graduation and present diplomas.

The day and time of an individual student’s ceremony will be based on last name, and alphabetically.

On each day, four ceremonies will be held at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

National Honor Society graduates, who by tradition receive their diplomas prior to the full student body, will have their own ceremony.

Students will be told of their assigned graduation day and time via email, along with important  information about arrival times and other requirements.  Students will be asked to confirm receipt of that email.

No changes will be made to students’ assigned graduation day and time due to the complex logistics of running eight graduation ceremonies.  Reminder: It’s critically important to check email.

All graduates and their guests must wear masks and follow all social distancing guidelines while on the campus. A mandatory health screening will be required. Details will be emailed to students.

Due to COVID-19 mandates, the annual baccalaureate ceremony is regrettably cancelled.

We share your disappointment about a scaled back ceremony and not being able to have more participants in these smaller graduation ceremonies. Please know we waited as long as we could before finalizing plans to try to have as close of a traditional graduation ceremony as possible, as per past years. We reviewed every possible option before determining this was the best option, based on current and expected conditions.

We are grateful to Class of 2020 students and families for the extreme grace and understanding everyone has exhibited during these challenging times. We know these circumstances are not easy to accept, but you have shown tenacity, strength and the utmost resiliency and these have always motivated us to do our very best to make a live, on the field graduation possible.

Thank you for understanding, and we look forward to making your graduation a memorable one.

Go Warriors!


Kenneth Hauck