BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — We are just days away from the start of high school graduations within the Kern High School District.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there were concerns that high school graduations would not happen. But the district announced last month that it would move forward with in-person graduations with some restrictions.
In a statement to 23ABC, the Kern High School District said that Governor Gavin Newsom's new mandate requiring the use of masks would not change the KHSD plans as they were already requiring masks.
"The governor’s mask requirements does not change anything for our graduations. As part of our safety guidelines, we require graduates and their guests to wear masks. If they do not have a mask, we will provide them with one," said the statement.
The graduations are set to kick off Monday with Golden Valley the first to see students cross the stage at bulldog stadium starting at 8 p.m. Independence, North, and Stockdale will be next in line with their graduations on Tuesday.
The KHSD graduation schedule is as follows:
- Arvin High School, June 26, 8 p.m. Barle Stadium
- Bakersfield High School, June 25, 7:30 p.m. Griffith Field
- Continuation High Schools/Workforce, June 24, 7:30 p.m. Griffith Field
- Centennial High School Thursday, June 25, 7:30 pm Golden Hawk Stadium
- East Bakersfield High School, June 24, 8 p.m. Permenter Field
- Foothill High School, June 25, 7:30 p.m. Mira Monte Stadium
- Frontier High School, June 25, 7 p.m. Titan Stadium
- Golden Valley High School, June 22, 8 p.m. Bulldog Stadium
- Highland High School, June 25, 7 p.m. Scotland Yard
- Independence High School, June 23, 8 p.m. Football Stadium
- Liberty High School, June 25, 8 p.m. Football Stadium
- Mira Monte High School, June 24, 8 p.m. Football Stadium
- North High School, June 23, 8 p.m. Eliades Field
- Ridgeview High School, June 24, 8 p.m. Football Stadium
- Shafter High School, June 24, 7:30 p.m. Football Stadium
- South High School, June 24, 8 p.m. South High Stadium
- Stockdale High School, June 23, 7 p.m. Stockdale High Stadium
- West High School, June 24, 8 p.m. Kilgore Stadium
But with coronavirus cases starting to increase, Kern County Public Health has issued a warning about the risks associated with in-person graduations.
"Although this is a pivotal time in a person's educational career that we want to honor, we need to be careful as we see that COVID-19 isn't going away. It's still here," said Kern County Health Department Services Director Matt Constantine. "But any time we have any sort of event or gathering that potentially could expose more people or could tax the hospital system we need to be cautious and we need to postpone those events or cancel until we have better guidance from the state."
The guidelines issued by the Kern High School District include:
- Two guests per graduate (no exceptions)
- Graduates and guests will sit together on the field.
- Chairs on the field will be positioned so that a minimum of 8 feet of distance is between family groups and maintained during the ceremony. School staff will assist families in finding their seats.
- Graduates and guests must maintain a minimum of 6 feet of physical distance between themselves and others outside of their home
- People who are at higher risk of getting sick are asked not to participate: People 65 years or older; People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility; People who have underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled
- People who have had COVID-19 symptoms in the prior three days or who came in contact with someone who has had COVID-19 in the last 14 days should not participate
- Staff, students, and guests should wear face coverings (masks will be provided to anyone who needs one)
- Graduates are encouraged to keep their face masks on until they walk on the stage
- School sites will plan for a process to hand off the diploma and have the student’s picture taken that minimizes physical contact and adheres to social distancing guidelines
- Each site will plan for how students and their guests will be able to avoid congregation and safely exit the event
- Any reusable supplies or furniture used during the ceremony will be properly cleaned and disinfected