Command center urges alternate graduation ceremonies

| May 15, 2020 3:39 PM

While Governor Steve Bullock has eased restrictions in Montana and allowed school boards to decide if they want to reopen schools and conduct graduations, the Lake County-CSKT Unified Command Center says serious caution should be taken when considering high school graduation ceremonies in the Mission Valley.

The CSKT Unified Command Center is recommending alternatives to public gatherings to avoid the numerous potential challenges. Under Phase One of the governor’s plan to reopen Montana, the plan states that graduation environments must meet the social distancing requirements, which includes avoiding gatherings of groups of more than 10 people. Also a factor to consider is the governor’s directive for out-of-state travelers coming to Montana for non-work related reasons must quarantine for 14 days, which impacts out of state graduation attendees.

Live streaming is an option being considered by many colleges and universities. Salish Kootenai College is preparing to use remote communications for live streaming their graduation ceremony. Another consideration is waiting until June for a graduation celebration which would allow another four weeks to evaluate our success at excluding this virus from our communities.

“These are difficult times where we have sacrificed many freedoms to quarantine, isolate, and socially distance ourselves from others so as not to provide avenues of virus transmission,” said Robert McDonald, public information officer for the Lake County–CSKT Unified Command Center. “The adherence to these guidelines have slowed the spread of COVID-19 and our goal is to prevent any setbacks that cause spikes in infection rates and cause a need for starting over.”