El Reno High School Class of 2020 is ready to graduate now versus later.
That’s the message Superintendent Craig McVay got last week and he obliged by setting aside May 30 for commencement exercises.
“The decision of the senior class was they wanted to do it sooner than later. Some of the governor’s actions and policies opened things up and it’s the seniors wishes to do it early,” said McVay.
El Reno had planned to hold off until later in the summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with the state well into Phase II of Gov. Kevin Stitt's “Open Up and Recover Safely” plan, the district opted for the earlier date.
“We looked at the best possible dates and the first weekend in June was A Small Town Weekend and we wanted to stay away from other events of the summer,” said McVay.
Graduation will be held at Memorial Stadium and will start at 10:30 a.m. The ceremony will be held outside no matter the weather.
“We are having it outside rain or shine. This time of year we get storms later in the day so that is why we decided to hold it in the morning. If there are storms, high winds or lightning, we will hold up the start and decide from there.
“We will treat it just like an athletic event and we will monitor the weather,” said McVay.
The district said it will not move graduation indoors to Jenks Simmons Field House due to weather. EHS Principal Pat Liticker said the morning start adds flexibility to the day to hold it later if needed.
Graduation practice will be Friday, May 29 at 4 p.m. Parents can attend practice and take pictures of their senior with cap, gown and diploma cover. The district urges social distancing guidelines be observed by parents while taking photos.
Graduation day will see some changes so the district falls in line with policies set in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for public gatherings. Those changes are:
▶ Podium and senior seating on the field will be in one end zone so that both sides of the stadium can be used for family seating.
▶ Social distancing should be followed and family groups are asked to be kept to 10 members or less. Family pods will be asked to space 6 feet apart.
▶ Masks are highly encouraged for everyone but not required.
▶ Hand-washing stations will be in place.
▶ A ticket will be required to enter the stadium. Each senior will be given 10 tickets for family members in an effort to control crowd numbers.
“We are going to try and have a graduation that goes off error-free but we know it won’t be perfect. We are piggy-backing off what some other schools like Kingfisher did last week so we are not breaking new ground.
“We want everyone to be able to come but we just can’t so that is why we are requiring a ticket to get into the stadium. We are asking people to police themselves and respect others and the seriousness of this disease,” said McVay.