Cloverdale High School’s graduation and Washington School’s promotion are both moving forward with in-person celebrations, but the specifics of what it will look like will be largely dependent on where the county sits in the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy COVID-19 tier system.
“It’s a nail-biter because it does matter whether we’re in yellow or orange,” Cloverdale Superintendent Betha MacClain said during a school board meeting on May 19.
The tier system, which breaks California counties up into purple, red, orange and yellow tiers, works to signify how widespread the virus is in county communities. Sonoma County is currently in the orange tier after failing to reach the COVID-19 case rate numbers that would’ve allowed the county to move into the yellow tier.
According to MacClain, an in-person ceremony is a “no-brainer,” but the number of guests each student can bring, as well as the requirements to get into the ceremony, will depend on the tier.
“If we’re in orange, we’re estimating that each graduate will be allowed three guest tickets because of social distancing requirements and gathering restrictions,” she said.
If the county is still in the orange tier, guests will be required to preregister for graduation and will have to present either a COVID-19 vaccination card or a negative COVID test result at the entrance. If the county moves into the yellow tier, however, the district estimates that each student will receive six guest tickets and guests won’t be required to prove that they're either vaccinated or negative for COVID.
The ability to have an in-person ceremony is a departure from where the county – and the country — was a year ago. Cloverdale’s 2020 graduates participated in a parking lot ceremony on the side of the high school, each graduate driving up in decorated cars, walking across a stage and waving to their teachers.
“We’re really trying to keep families informed,” she said. “This is a hard one — we want as many family members as possible to participate.”