May is now upon us, which means that graduation is just around the corner.
And for Montezuma County seniors, the culminating event is still set to happen – although this year it will look much different than it ever has before.
Dolores School District Re-4ARe-4A was the first school district to announce its graduation plans in the new COVID-19 landscape.
The district plans a “Drive-in Graduation” at the high school football field at 6 p.m. May 14, the originally scheduled time and date for the commencement. For the ceremony, all 29 graduates will be spread across the entire field, while their immediate family members will be able to attend in cars parked around the field.
The event will also be filmed and available for viewing through a livestream.
Since family members will be asked to remain in their vehicles, the school district will have two people taking pictures of every student, Dolores Superintendent Lis Richard said in a letter to parents. Families can drive up to the field on 14th Street – school resource officer Kaylee Green will be at the field entrance to guide cars to a space on the field, starting at 5:15 p.m.
Following the ceremony, seniors will join their family members in their vehicles for a car parade through the town of Dolores, which is already graced with banners for each graduate. Officer Green and a team of first responders will serve as parade escorts.
Mancos School District Re-6After much discussion, the Mancos School District hopes to hold a live ceremony at its football field May 29, although school leaders are still waiting on approval from the Montezuma County Health Department, according to secondary Principal John Marchino.
If approved, the ceremony will have to follow social distancing regulations, with chairs spaced 10 feet apart and only two household members per graduate allowed to attend, Marchino said at a virtual school board meeting April 30. The school board and administration would be on a stage or in the bleachers, and the ceremony would also be livestreamed.
Marchino said the district has presented the plan to the health department.
“They’re waiting for more information, basically waiting for the governor to come out and say that ‘safer at home’ is working and we can do this, it’s OK, or it’s not working and we got to close things down more,” Marchino said.
Superintendent Brian Hanson noted at the meeting that a lot is up in the air right now, depending on state orders and regulations, but the administration felt it should set a date, and then push it back if need be. He added that senior banners will be hung along Grand Avenue.
“We’re all saddened by the fact that what has been taken from our seniors this last month of their school – that can never be replaced,” Hanson said. “And we have to do everything we can to make the day special for them and to make this time special for them.”
Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1Montezuma-Cortez High School announced Sunday the ceremony will include a drive-up ceremony followed by a parade, happening at 5:30 p.m. May 21 at the high school.
Each senior, escorted by his or her immediate family members, will be able to approach the stage in one vehicle, and the family can take pictures of the graduate receiving a diploma and crossing the stage.
After leaving the high school, graduates and their families will line up for a parade through Cortez, traveling from Sligo Street west down 7th Street. Those wishing to observe the ceremony are asked to station themselves along the parade route rather than show up to the high school.
“Our seniors have carefully planned to make sure this event adheres to the current public policies,” the announcement states. “They ask the community and extended family to please observe social distancing by staying in your vehicle, avoid gathering, and be respectful of the 7th St. property owners.”
High school senior families are expected to receive additional information with more ceremony specifics by May 8.