Sandwich is taking a real risk holding an in-person graduation ceremony next week.
The risk is not in the plan itself, which has lots of safeguards in place.
The students are to march into DeConto Stadium eight feet apart, with masks in place, to rows of chairs, which will also be spaced eight feet apart. There will be the usual speeches and some pomp and circumstance before the students collect their diplomas.
Only two guests per student are allowed, to keep the crowd of onlookers small. The guests are also required to wear masks and remain socially distant.
There is a strict parking protocol to follow, too. Grads and guests are to arrive in the same car. The grad will be dropped off in the bus loop before the guests proceed to an assigned parking space.
There will be signs throughout the stadium reminding folks to keep their masks in place and to keep their distance.
Many high schools have gone the virtual route with their graduations. Plymouth had a graduation parade. Sandwich is one of the first in the state to hold an in-person celebration like this one. It’s what the graduates wanted. And who could blame them.
So the school department went to work to create as safe an in-person ceremony as it could, with the help of the town’s COVID-19 Task Force.
The plan is a good one.
The real risk lies with the grads and guests. Will they follow the plan? Will they keep their masks in place? Will they keep their distance?
It’s a real crap shoot. There are plenty of folks who think too much has been made of COVID-19, that authorities have gone overboard with their precautions.
The truth of the matter is that the virus has sickened more than 2 million people in the United States and killed more than 120,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There will always be doubters and naysayers. And that’s their right. But when it comes to our graduates, no matter what you think about the virus, respect the rules. Wear your masks, keep your distance, and let’s celebrate what these kids have accomplished.
Congratulations to the Sandwich High School Class of 2020.