BEAR RIVER HIGH – By Cari Doutre – May 13, 2020
Seniors in the graduating Class of 2020 at Bear River High School were supposed to attend their traditional graduation commencement ceremony on May 28, 2020 at Utah State University – and that was the plan up until April 14.
Then things changed for the entire country and the world. The worldwide COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic halted government, businesses, public events and much more in Utah in mid-March. All public schools in Utah were dismissed on March 16.
As restrictions are slowly being lifted in Utah, and with information changing every day, administrators and staff members at Bear River High were sent scrambling to figure out the school’s best solution for graduation this year.
On May 11, an official announcement with additional information about graduation was sent to parents and seniors at Bear River High. The letter included the school’s detailed plan for their first ever “virtual graduation.”
“We wanted to do anything and everything we could to recognize these seniors and this is as much as we’re allowed to do but still staying within the bounds of meeting health codes and requirements from the government,” said AJ Gilmore, Bear River High School Principal.
This is how Bear River High’s first ever virtual graduation will work.
On Thursday, May 14 and Friday, May 15, Bear River High’s staff and administrators have organized graduating seniors into groups of 15 in specific time slots. Students will meet at a designated area outside of the school’s auditorium to begin their virtual graduation.
One at a time, graduates will be video’d as they walk across the auditorium stage to receive their diploma cover. Bear River High will only allow two guests per graduate to attend the virtual graduation.
New groups of graduates and guests will come through every 15 minutes and all have been assigned a specific time slot.
Bear River Live, a locally owned and operated livestreaming company, will be filming this year’s virtual graduation - including graduates walking across the stage. Additional graduation coverage will also be gathered by Bear River Live.
That coverage will then be edited and made into the “2020 Bear River High School Virtual Graduation” video. It will be aired on May 28 – the date of the school’s official graduation.
“We want to do more but we’re doing everything we can without breaking rules,” said Gilmore.
The letter strongly emphasized that all graduates and guests comply with Utah and local health department guidelines and follow proper hygiene and social distancing guidelines in respect to others.
“Be respectful to the six-foot boundary and we’ve got to keep groups to under 20 in different parts of the building,” said Gilmore.
Following those guidelines and orders will be a priority for Bear River High.
“We’re social creatures. We want to be around each other but we also need to be respectful of those wishes of the governor and superintendent and the health department to keep our distance,” Gilmore added.
For additional information, and other activities planned for the virtual graduation, see Bear River High’s instructions below or click on Bear River High School’s official website link here.