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School district to move forward with small group graduations for high school seniors 

School district to move forward with small group graduations for high school seniors

–The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees has recently given direction for the district to move forward with small group graduations.

On April 15, 2020, they produced a contingency plan with “back up” dates for graduation based on the following criteria:

  • They follow state and federal guidelines for health and safety
  • They will value the opinions of our students and parents attempting to hold the “most traditional” form of graduation,
  • The plan must be feasible for the district staff and fiscal constraints


The district says it maintains these criteria and recommends in-person graduation ceremonies of 25 graduates at a time at War Memorial Stadium, based on current Stage 2 status the following recommendation to the board of trustees. “We truly believe this is the best possible solution for our students and families while keeping them safe and valuing their milestone of graduating high school,” according to a district email by Deputy Superintendent Jen Gaviola.

In the original contingency plan, they had “reserved” July 10th and 11th as possible dates of Graduation at War Memorial Stadium. With the current health and safety concerns, they now propose the following graduation ceremonies take place:

  • We hold 16-18 small graduation ceremonies at War Memorial Stadium on the following dates: July 8, 9, 10, and 11, 2020 at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. daily.
  • 25 graduates from PRHS, LHS, and IHS will attend at a time, following the state and federal physically distancing requirements (currently 6 feet apart).


Graduates will be assigned their date and time by June 10, 2020 for the ceremony. Students and families will not be able to request ceremony dates and times.

Each ceremony will only have 25 graduates and will consist of the following recommendations:

  • 8 family member tickets (seating will be on the field, with each family cluster appropriately spaced in accordance to physical distancing requirements)
  • Maintaining less than 225 people on the football field (55,000 square feet of space) at a time.
  • 1 family member will give the diploma out to their graduate, to keep with physical distancing requirements.
  • A processional and recessional of graduates (recorded music) and no post-on-field celebrations of graduates with the crowd.
  • Traditional stage, speeches (pre-recorded of Valedictorian, Salutatorian, ASB President, Class President, and Principal) will be displayed
  • There will be traditional streamers and the walk across the stage
  • Students will request their “friend group” to graduate with, and the district will accommodate as much as possible. Students and families will not be able to request a specific date or time.
  • Each ceremony will last approximately 30-45 minutes in length.
  • Chairs will be sanitized for each ceremony.
  • The district will make every attempt to additionally broadcast/livestream the ceremonies if at all possible.


If a graduate does not want to participate due to health and safety concerns, the district will schedule an alternative pick up time to receive their diploma.

“At this time, we believe that we can maintain the appropriate physical distancing and not require masks during the ceremonies, although we would support anyone who would like to wear masks, especially if they are in the high-risk categories,” wrote Gaviola.

Any person not following guidelines will be immediately removed from the premises.

Additional information will be provided at the end of this week to parents and seniors.

Due to the large amount of graduations, the district will be having drive-thru promotions for 8th grade.


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