Campbell County School District trustees have voted to hold high school graduations June 12 and 13, and district staff will spend the next few weeks figuring out the details of the ceremonies.
Westwood High School’s graduation will be June 12, a Friday, and Campbell County High School, Thunder Basin High School and Wright Junior-Senior High School all will have graduation ceremonies June 13.
The school board voted at its regular meeting Tuesday night to hold graduation on those dates. At a special meeting last week, the board was tentatively considering June 26 and 27. But after getting feedback from parents, it decided to move the ceremonies up by two weeks.
One of the reasons is to accommodate seniors who have enlisted in the military and are set to begin their service in June.
Trustee Lisa Durgin said she’s heard from parents saying that the ceremony will need to be modified if it happens at the end of June, the district might as well hold it earlier.
Times for the graduations have not been decided. They won’t be held at shared locations, because the schools have said they want to hold graduations at their own sites, said Deputy Superintendent Kirby Eisenhauer.
He recommended that since graduations could be held outdoors, having them during mid-morning would be better because rain showers are more likely in the afternoons. The reason a Saturday was chosen was because “if we did that Sunday, we might be conflicting with church services,” he said.
A Saturday graduation gives people who are traveling to Gillette a day to travel back home without having to miss work Monday, he added.
School district staff will work with principals to figure out whether the Campbell County and Thunder Basin graduations will be staggered. They also will work with Campbell County Public Health to figure out if any restrictions need to be in place at the ceremonies.
“We all would have to continue social distancing there,” said board trustee Joe Lawrence.
Other potential restrictions include limiting the number of people for each graduate and requiring those in attendance to wear masks.
The district also will figure out a way to record the graduations so that those who can’t make it can watch it later.
“If we can figure out how to do it live, that’s the best-case scenario,” Durgin said.
“We can only do what we can do,” Lawrence said. “The bottom line is we want a graduation because these kids deserve it.”