The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted millions of Americans’ lives since March, and has brought many disappointments to graduating seniors across the country.
Shippensburg is no different. The Shippensburg Area Senior High School Class of 2020 lost out on its spring sports competitions, spending the last few months of the year with their friends and fellow classmates and even its traditional commencement ceremonies.
The school district’s administration and school board have been working tirelessly to honor the seniors and give them the proper farewell they so rightly deserve.
After months of discussion, the district has opted to hold four nontraditional commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2020 next week.
“SASD is planning to conduct four ceremonies next week (two on Monday and two on Tuesday) at Veterans Stadium. We have planned the four ceremonies to limit the number of participants and remain under 250 individuals. We will roughly have 60 students with two guests each at each ceremony. The plans include a commencement at 4:30 p.m., and again at 7 p.m. on both days. We will be practicing social distancing along with requiring all participants and guests wear face masks. Upon entry, everyone will have their temperatures checked. Individuals are also assigned to clean touch surfaces and handrails throughout. A thorough cleaning will also occur after each ceremony,” Superintendent Dr. Chris Suppo wrote in an email to The News-Chronicle.
Suppo added, “I am very proud of our entire Shippensburg community, district staff, school board and parents. It has been amazing to see how everyone worked together for one single purpose – our students. Parents and families continue to be very patient and understanding. Everyone has truly lived the expression, ‘We are all in this together.’ Our hope was to provide students with a graduation ceremony as close to ‘normal’ as possible. Unfortunately, with restrictions still in place, we have had to alter our plans to include several smaller ceremonies instead of one in which the entire 2020 class could attend together. We are pleased, however, that we are able to hold commencement exercises for our seniors. We wish them the best as they leave us, and can’t wait to hear about the many great things they will surely do.”