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Henrico County Public Schools planning for outdoor, in-person graduations for Class of 2021

Graduation events held outdoors will be capped at 5,000 people or 30% of the venue capacity, whichever is less. Graduation events held indoors may include up to 500 people, or 30% of the venue capacity, whichever is less.

Trevor Dickerson

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Henrico County Public Schools is planning to hold outdoor, in-person graduation exercises in June for the Class of 2021 and will adopt all requirements for in-person graduations laid out by Gov. Ralph Northam. Northam released preliminary guidance today for an expected April 1 update to Executive Order 72, which deals with safety measures during the coronavirus pandemic.

The governor’s preliminary update to the order states that in-person graduations will be allowed in Virginia if school divisions meet a series of safety requirements. Graduation events held outdoors will be capped at 5,000 people or 30% of the venue capacity, whichever is less. Graduation events held indoors may include up to 500 people, or 30% of the venue capacity, whichever is less. Other stipulations include requirements for physical distancing, signs, mask use, plastic barriers, handwashing, and disinfecting surfaces. The requirements also prohibit related gatherings before or after the event, as well as food and beverage sales, except for water.

“It’s great news,” said Amy Cashwell, HCPS superintendent. “Even better, is that we were already actively planning on having outdoor, in-person graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2021. While we’re not yet ready to announce a location or details of those plans, our high school seniors and their families should expect full information in the coming weeks.

“As always, we’ll closely follow the latest in state and local health guidance, which still might mean some new additions and differences to the traditional in-person experience. But for now, we want the Class of 2021 to be excited for all the ‘pomp and circumstance’ of an in-person graduation ceremony outdoors.”

To read the draft document of guidance for in-person graduations, click here.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.