SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KION) In an effort to keep students, families and school staff safe while celebrating the end of the school year, the California Department of Public Health has released guidance for commencements and graduation ceremonies.
To reduce the spread of COVID-19, the CDPH is recommending that schools statewide should allow for at least two hours between ceremonies, keep seating fixed and marked and limit groups to a household unit.
In terms of capacity, all ceremonies will be required to follow guidance for outdoor seated live events and performances. All attendees- including staff, performers, students and families- are counted toward the capacity limit.
If a county is in a tier that does not allow for outdoor live events and performances, the state says schools should consider alternatives, such as a drive-thru or virtual ceremony.
The CDPH says speakers may take off their masks while they are speaking, but they need to stay at least six feet away from other people during that time and masks must be worn at all other times.
The guidance recommends that the venue should be cleaned and disinfected before and after the event and says to consider cleaning high-touch surfaces between uses. The CDPH said there should also be barriers to create 12 feet of space between attendees and the stage and podium. Everyone is asked to maintain 6 feet of distance from people outside their own household.
If schools or districts would like to have food or drink concessions, the CDPH says they should follow tier limits in outdoor live events and performances guidance.
Receptions before or after the ceremony fall within CDPH guidance for gatherings.
When it comes to diplomas, caps and gowns, the state recommends sending them to students in advance so they can arrive dressed and with their diplomas. The state also recommends that graduates should turn their tassel instead of receiving a diploma if they walk across the stage. If the diploma is handed to the graduate, the CDPH recommends using hand hygiene before and after touching objects.