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Davis Journal

District plans for traditional graduation ceremonies

May 13, 2021 12:13PM ● By Becky Ginos

Students sit on the floor of the Dee Events Center during graduation ceremonies in 2019. The upcoming 2021 graduation will be more traditional than last year’s virtual event. Photo by Becky Ginos

FARMINGTON—There might be masks and elbow bumps but graduation in the Davis School District will look very different than last year.

“Each graduate can invite four guests,” said Secondary School Dr. Dan Linford. “We’ll be able to seat 3,500 at the Dee Events Center. We just found out students can sit on the floor with masks. Before they said they would have been in the stadium. It’s going to be much more traditional than we ever thought. We’re excited.”

Linford said they know the public wants a traditional, regal graduation. “That’s our goal. Things like handshakes from dignitaries, etc. – we’re still working through those details.” 

Most districts in the state are doing it in an outside venue, he said. “The difficult thing outside is finding enough seating for all the schools at the same time. The biggest thing is the weather, it can be hot or you can have rain. We’re not excited about being outside. We’re just grateful Weber State has worked with us on this.”

Six schools are holding graduation ceremonies before Memorial Day and the last week of school. “Usually we hold it the last three days of school,” said Linford. “WSU could only accommodate us on these days. They’re also a vaccination station so we couldn’t use our original dates.”

Because the Weber/Ogden district has had those dates before Memorial Day for so long that’s always pushed the district to those days (after), he said. “Our desire generally is to graduate before the Memorial Day weekend. We let parents know as soon as we knew.”

Linford said the last three days of school will largely be used for recovery work. “With COVID we’ve had more recovery work than we’ve had historically. Students can work on that without having the seniors there. Some seniors will have recovery work too. They may have passed the class but need to reach competency or those who didn’t qualify for graduation and need to do recovery work but it will mostly be underclassmen.”

It’s a school-based decision whether those seniors come back to sign yearbooks, he said. “A lot of seniors will want underclassmen to sign their yearbooks. I think every school will have an all night party the night of graduation.”

Students will also be able to take senior pictures with their cap and gown normally, said Linford. “Last year we took pictures of each student for our virtual graduation.”

If Weber and even Davis are at low transmission by then, Linford said he doesn’t see why they couldn’t hold a very traditional graduation. “The trajectory is good. As they drop health orders we’re doing well with that. Just two weeks ago we were still planning on testing all the graduates for COVID. We’ve dropped that.”

Hats off to the students and community for taking this seriously and doing their part, he said. “We plan to hold it regardless – short of something drastic. Even if we’re on the heavy side of moderate we will still hold it.”

Linford said they made the right decision not holding it outdoors. “Other districts are probably wishing they were in that situation of holding a climate controlled graduation.”