Triad pivots to in-person graduation plan


As coronavirus restrictions have loosened, Triad has developed a new plan for an outdoor, in-person graduation ceremony.
Superintendent Vickie Hoffman said she recently saw a video of a high school that hosted a similar commencement.
She said she thought to herself, “Oh my goodness, we have a huge parking lot – we could do that!”
Hoffman said she then reached out to the Champaign County Health Commissioner for his approval.
Once the district got permission to move forward, she said staff began making plans for an in-person graduation at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 31.
Hoffman said a large stage will be set up in the student parking lots at Triad High School. Each graduate will be allowed to bring two cars of people, “however many that is,” she said.
Staff is still finalizing a plan regarding the layout of the stage and where vehicles will park Hoffman explained.
She said she has seen examples where a stage is built in the middle of the parking lot and cars are double-parked around it. Staff will soon measure the parking lot to see if that will work well at Triad.
Regardless of the layout, Hoffman said high school staff will likely be directing traffic and guiding families to an appropriate, spaced out parking spot.
Seniors will bring a lawn chair with them and sit outside, in front of the car during the ceremony, while guests remain in their vehicle the whole time.
Hoffman said there will be two professional photographers at graduation. One will be focused on the graduates and the stage and the other will take photos of the crowd.
The photographers want to support the community, Hoffman said, and will post all photos online so they are accessible to families. That way, family members don’t have to leave their cars during commencement.
“They can just enjoy and not worry about it,” she said.
Hoffman said the district Valedictorian, Salutatorian and Class President will give speeches during the ceremony.
Then each graduate will be called to the stage, one at a time. Hoffman, High School Principal Kyle Huffman and a Board of Education member will be on stage to present students with their diploma.
The additional students and staff that would typically sit on stage will not, Hoffman said, since there isn’t enough space to social distance.
Although she doesn’t expect students will touch anything on the stage, the microphone and anything that is touched will be sanitized in between individuals.
She said the district is determining whether it will use its own sound equipment or bring in a DJ, the father of a staff member, to broadcast the event.
“We’ll make sure it’s loud,” Hoffman said.
The superintendent said the actual graduation is open to families, while members of the public are asked to attend a graduation parade afterward.
She said each senior will ride in an individual car driven by a parent or family member. That way, students can wave and enjoy the ride.
Hoffman said high school staff members will line the drive to send the caravan to Woodstock, down Route 559 to North Lewisburg, down 245 to Mingo-North Lewisburg Road to Mingo, up Route 245 through Middletown. The cars will proceed down Middletown Road to Black Road to Inskeep Road through Cable and disperse from there.
Students are asked to decorate their cars and community members are invited to line the parade route at a safe distance from one another and hold up signs or cheer, Hoffman said.
Photographers will also be throughout the parade route.
A backup date in case of rain is to be determined, but Hoffman said the ceremony and parade would likely be held the following Sunday, June 7.

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