Editor's note: After this article went to press, Bowling Green High School announced some updates for its graduation plans. Below, is the newest information provided.
“The announcement by Gov. Mike Parson on Monday relaxing some state restrictions has allowed our administration to set a tentative date for a traditional graduation on June 5,” wrote Bowling Green R-I Superintendant Matt Frederickson.
“This date was picked based on recommendations from the Pike County Health Department but was tempered by the knowledge that there has been some recent community spread of the Covid 19 virus in our county.
“Continued social distancing guidelines means that the graduates will most likely receive only a very limited number of tickets for guests. That number may be as low as two.
“The June 5 date is still very fluid and conditional on our county’s health situation, but we felt it was prudent to set a date in order to give families ample time to prepare.
“BGHS will attempt to live stream the graduation for people unable to attend the event in person. If the June 5 date cannot happen, we will attempt to reschedule it later in the summer.
“BGHS will continue plans to prerecord a virtual version of the graduation over the course of the next two weeks. This is important because we have seniors leaving for military service. Even by changing graduation to June 5, not all graduates will be able to attend; we respect these students’ choice to defend our nation and will try to create a memory through the prerecorded video.
“The video will also serve as a safeguard in case our county’s health situation deteriorates and attempts to reschedule the graduation fail.
“On May 4 from 5-7 p.m., seniors will pick up their caps and gowns, turn in any remaining homework and textbooks, collect items from their lockers and gym lockers, receive a senior yard sign, and drive through the ‘parking lot parade.’
“It will be a chance for our faculty to wave and honk from their cars to say farewell to our seniors. Parents may attend the parking lot parade, but please use only one car per family, and you MUST remain in a vehicle.
“Seniors will also be asked to schedule a time to be videoed walking across the graduation stage in their caps and gowns for the prerecorded graduation video. These time slots will be at five minute intervals on May 5 from 8 a.m.-noon, May 6 from 1-5 p.m., and May 7 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Please call the high school office to reserve at time slot. Make sure you wear nice pants or a dress.
“Guys, wear a collared shirt and tie. No tennis shoes. Liz O’Farrell has volunteered to take a photo of your graduate on the stage. Kim Luebrecht will be splicing the videos together with other elements of a typical graduation. BGHS plans to provide the picture and the video to seniors for free.
“We have decided to ask that only the graduates enter the school for the video and photograph, otherwise we will be exposing our staff and volunteers to literally hundreds of people. If you need someone to fix your hair or garments, please have them remain in the parking lot. Any community spread of the virus related to school during May, might jeopardize our chances of holding the rescheduled gradation in June.”
Below is the original story printed in the Bowling Green Times:
BOWLING GREEN—Ideas about how to provide some sort of graduation for the 2020 Bowling Green High School seniors and possibly having a prom were discussed during the R-I School Board meeting last Tuesday.
The board met using Zoom, a meeting software program, so they did not have to meet in person because of the COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.
Bowling Green High School Principal Scott Mullins said he had discussed the possibilities of a virtual graduation with the school’s staff. The seniors had been surveyed the week before, and most had wanted to wait to hold graduation when they could all be there in a more traditional sense, Mullins said.
“Maybe not a gym full of people, but maybe just immediate family,” he said. “My concern with that,” he noted, “is that we have students who are leaving for the military this summer and wouldn’t be a part of that.”
His plan now is to do a virtual graduation on the original Friday graduation date. How it would work, he said, is during the week leading up to May 15, graduating seniors and their families would be scheduled to come in and walk across the state to receive their diplomas so as not to exceed the 10 person gathering rule. Those who are supposed to provide speeches would do so on video. And all the clips would be combined into one long video, which will be uploaded for students’ families to access Friday, May 15.
“The families could gather around and watch it together,” Mullins said.
“We have also decided that in addition the virtual graduation that we would also still like to hold an in person graduation at a later date,” said Matt Frederickson, R-I School Superintendent, “But are relying on updated guidance we expect even this week.”
Mullins also held open the opportunity to have a more traditional graduation sometime in June, but in case that could not happen, he wanted to make sure all the seniors would be included in some type of graduation in May.
There is still a possibility of holding a prom in June, as well, Mullins added. He assured the board that there are teachers willing to help out with that, should it be allowed to happen.
“Anything we can do in accordance with the health department, we’ll keep on our schedule,” he said. Frederickson said it was important that they stay within the guidelines set by the health department on gatherings.
Middle School Principal David Koogler said he would put together a virtual presentation of middle school students' promotion, but not with the children and families there. He would download their photos and put those together with his and the teachers’ speeches and offer that to families to view.