West Hartford Superintendent of Schools announced the graduation date for the Class of 2021, and said he is optimistic they will be held in person this year.
By Ronni Newton
West Hartford’s Conard and Hall high schools will both hold commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2021 on Tuesday, June 15, Superintendent Tom Moore said Wednesday, a decision approved unanimously by the Board of Education.
“This is a big night for the calendar,” Moore said. In past years, the date for graduation was not announced until April 1 to ensure that all snow days were taken into consideration, but Moore said that the state has changed the law to allow the date to be set earlier, and once it’s set graduation does not need to be pushed off if there are additional snow days.
Board member Amanda Aronson asked Moore if he envisioned graduation being in person or held as a drive-in event like last year.
“This is one that’s uniquely in the hand of the governor in terms of the size of the gathering that we can have,” Moore responded. On Tuesday, Gov. Ned Lamont announced plans to begin easing restrictions on gathering sizes to 100 indoors and 200 outdoors as of March 19, as long as COVID-19 metrics continue to trend in a positive direction.
Just the students at each high school would be 400 people, Moore said, but he believes that the fields can be set up safely for outdoor graduation. In addition, he said that if students are back at school full time in April, May, and June, he believes “to not have graduation would be disingenuous.”
If in-person can’t happen, however, Moore said that based on last year’s experience, which included his own daughter, there is a solid plan, “a blue print of how to go about a graduation during a pandemic that does celebrate everyone and make it a special day.”
Moore said he is optimistic about graduation, and also optimistic about some type of a safe grad celebration, although those decisions are still “pending the governor” due to gathering sizes.
Regarding proms, “those are going to be a little bit more difficult,” Moore said. “That’s 700 people, inside.”
Graduation can be outdoors, safe grad can be partially outdoors, but proms are more complicated. Moore said that discussions are taking place by the administration at Conard and Hall, however, and more information will follow.
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