GALLIA COUNTY — South Gallia High School and River Valley High School recently announced plans to hold upcoming in-person graduation ceremonies in light of COVID-19 outbreak challenges.
Both schools, part of the Gallia County Local Schools District, released letters on their respective social media pages detailing anticipated steps to publish ceremony videos on YouTube in celebration of graduates. Seniors are still walking, but in a smaller atmosphere, to receive their diplomas. RVHS will release its video May 22 at 7 p.m. and SGHS will release its video May 23 at 10:30 a.m.
A professional videographer has been hired to help create the school graduation ceremony videos.
The high schools will follow a similar graduation pattern directing students in their personal ceremonies.
The RVHS and SGHS letters share the same two beginning paragraphs, were signed by their respective school principals, South Gallia’s Bray Shamblin and River Valley’s T.R. Edwards, and are written as follows to graduate families:
It is fair to feel as though you have been cheated, your year was unexpectedly cut short and you have not been able to experience traditions like those before you have experienced. I would like to thank each of you for your continued patience and understanding in the last few months. It has been difficult to hear “we don’t know yet” and yet you have been understanding and realized that our wish was to provide an experience as close to “normal” as we could for our seniors. After numerous conversations, ideas being processed and proposed, River Valley High School and South Gallia High School will conduct single family in-person graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020. Specific guidance from the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Education for single family in-person ceremonies is listed below.
Single family in-person graduation: Families are called into the auditorium one-by-one (no more than 10 people total including school administrators), the student walks across the stage, receives a diploma and walks out of the auditorium and back to the car. The next family enters. Attention should be paid to disinfecting surfaces (door handles, hand railings, etc.) that may be repeatedly touched. Also, strict parking management and regulation is needed to prevent congregating in parking lots and outdoor locations. This can be done by appointment only to ensure a smooth process for all.
River Valley’s letter then says that three days have been set aside for graduating seniors with up to four family members to hold a personal ceremony. The graduate will be filmed walking across the stage, given a diploma cover and will pose for a picture. The ceremonies are by appointment only and will be held May 15, May 18 and May 19 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. in 10 minute intervals. Appointments will be published on the Class of 2020 Google Classroom, RVHS Facebook page and school district website. Parents and students will be asked to park in the student parking side of RVHS and to remain there until a school representative calls them to enter the school. The graduate and their four family members will be taken to the ceremony area in the scheduled time.
South Gallia students will follow a similar program save that their scheduled ceremonies will be held May 20 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Appointments will be posted on the school website and in the senior Google Classroom page. Families are asked to park in the baseball parking lot and to remain in their vehicle until a school representative calls for them to pull into the front turnaround of the school to enter the building. Families are asked to arrive 15 minutes on campus prior to their appointed ceremony time.
Families are asked to watch the respective SGHS and RVHS Facebook pages as well as the school district website for any updates or changes.
Dean Wright is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing and can be reached at 740-446-2342.