High schools across southwest Virginia prepare for in-person graduation

The plans come as Governor Northam works to create plan for safe ceremonies

ROANOKE, Va – High school graduation is a day most seniors never forget.

After Gov. Ralph Northam announced plans are being made to make sure they can go on in-person, school divisions are optimistic about in-person ceremonies at the end of this school year.

“To me, it’s the culmination of 12 years of school it’s the ultimate day for our high school students,” Franklin County High School Principal Jon Crutchfield said.

After a year of sacrifices, most school divisions are hoping they can give their seniors in-person graduations this year after new guidance from the governor’s office.

“I want these kids to have a graduation they can remember something they’re going to enjoy, and they need to have with family members there as last year was a it’s, it’s a special time in their life and those kids were robbed last year,” Grayson County Superintendent Kelly Wilmore said.

Some school divisions like Roanoke City and Martinsville are still reviewing the new guidance issued by Northam.

While organizers at Franklin County schools got right to work.

“Franklin County is such a tight-knit community it is probably one of the top four or five attended events in our county,” Crutchfield said.

The draft plans say graduation events held outdoors will be capped at 5,000 people or 30% of the venue capacity. Franklin County will have 30% capacity and is still working out how many guests each student will have.

“They walk across the stage and they’ll get a diploma from me in the stadium under the lights,” said Crutchfield.

Grayson County Superintendent Kelly Wilmore hopes since COVID-19 cases are moving in the right direction, the restrictions could allow for more guests down the road. But they will have options for those who may not feel safe.

“We plan on putting as many people as we possibly can safely and doing that for me to be outside and should be a little safe, so maybe you know it’s like anything else, if you feel you’re at risk don’t come It’ll be live on video that day, and you can watch it. You know, we will take every precaution we have,” Wilmore said.

Grayson County is still figuring out just how many guests each student will have.


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