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Most Magic Valley graduation plans postponed or altered
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Most Magic Valley graduation plans postponed or altered

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Twin Falls Seniors graduate

Twin Falls seniors graduate during commencement May 21, 2019, at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls.

WENDELL — Many schools in the Magic Valley altered or postponed graduation celebrations for the Class of 2020. Some, however, plan to continue holding events despite public health guidelines.

Wendell High School will host a live graduation ceremony on Wednesday at the football field for about 50 graduates and their families. Gatherings of more than 10 people are not allowed during stage two of Gov. Brad Little’s phased reopening plan. This stage lasts until at least May 30.

Superintendent Tim Perrigot said the date for graduation was selected in April prior to the announcement of Little’s plan. Perrigot said switching to a virtual ceremony — a decision many other districts in the area have made — was not possible since the district struggles with connectivity.

“I’m so proud of our staff members, students and families in how they’ve handled the pandemic crisis,” Perrigot wrote in a statement. “We have since been in contact with (local health) officials and have made changes to address the health and safety of our seniors and their family members.”

All attendees are strongly encouraged to wear a mask and those who feel sick should stay home. Graduates and their families must enter and exit the field as a group, and groups will be separated on the field to maintain social distancing. Families must bring their own chairs and masks.

A similar event is expected to be held for Bliss High School at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Bliss superintendent Kevin Lancaster said they will hold an abbreviated ceremony for seven graduates and their families.

“We ... anticipate a small gathering that will incorporate social distancing,” he said. “We are excited to celebrate the accomplishments of our class of 2020.”

The ceremony will be held in the school’s parking lot in order to maintain social distance. Graduates will have a designated family section and all attendees must bring their own chair.

South Central Public Health District spokesperson Brianna Bodily commended the schools for their safety precautions but said health officials ultimately recommend against gatherings with more than 10 people during stage two. Bodily said the health district’s role is only to offer guidance, and the decision to hold and attend ceremonies is ultimately up to the schools.

“If you are concerned an event will put you at risk — don’t attend,” she said. “If you are invited to something that doesn’t follow the recommendations we’ve issued to help prevent the spread of disease, ask the organizer or manager to make changes.”

The health district reports 19 confirmed cases in Gooding County.

Minico High School recently retracted plans to hold a traditional, in-person graduation that was for Thursday. The change came after more cases were reported in the area.

Minico High School plans group graduation despite governor's order limiting events

Most other Magic Valley high schools have postponed in-person graduations or are planing alternative events.

Twin Falls

The Twin Falls School District has postponed graduation for a date later in the summer. The district will instead hold a pair of parades through the city this week to honor seniors. Graduates are encouraged to decorate their cars and wear their caps and gowns.

Twin Falls High School will hold a parade at 7 p.m. Monday. The procession will travel from the Magic Valley Mall to the school via Madrona Street. Canyon Ridge High School will hold its parade at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The route will take cars from the Sunway Soccer Complex to the school via North College Road West.

Jerome

Jerome will hold its graduation ceremony at about 8:30 p.m. Thursday in the high school’s west parking lot after a parade down Main Street. The parade will start at 7:45 p.m.; students will gather west of town at 7:15 p.m., then will head east toward the high school.

The ceremony will be broadcast over the radio on both FM and AM stations and on Facebook live. People are encouraged to turn off their cellular devices to keep bandwidth open for those streaming the event. Attendees must remain in vehicles for the entire ceremony.

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Valedictorians and salutatorians will give their speeches from the stage, and a slideshow will honor each student as if they were walking across the stage. Students will be allowed to exit their vehicles and toss their caps during commencement.

Kimberly

Kimberly High School has postponed its graduation until 1 p.m. June 27. The district is still working out details.

Castleford

Castleford’s planned graduation ceremony will not happen and a parade will be held instead at 7 p.m. Thursday. The district is considering holding a formal graduation ceremony on June 26 or 27.

Filer

Filer High School will hold a hybrid graduation at 6 p.m. Saturday. The event will include a virtual graduation ceremony speeches from valedictorians and salutatorians, a guest speaker address and student musical performances. Students will then receive their diplomas during a parade through the city.

Hansen

Seniors in Hansen School District will not graduate on Thursday as earlier planned. They will instead participate in a small drive-by celebration in the school parking lot.

Seniors will line up at the elementary school at 5:30 p.m., and the event will start at 6 p.m. The parade will wind down Main Street and then up to the high school. Seniors will pick up a bag of goodies and leave.

The district plans a formal graduation ceremony for late June when events of more than 50 people are allowed.

Hagerman

Graduates of Hagerman High School will receive their diplomas at 7 p.m. Tuesday during a curbside drive up graduation. Superintendent Mark Kress said the district is working with health officials on a plan and more details will be available soon.

Buhl

Buhl High School postponed its graduation, which was originally set for May 29. Superintendent Ron Anthony said the district is considering holding the event on June 25.

Valley

Valley School District postponed its graduation until 2 p.m. June 28 on the high school football field

Richfield

Richfield High School postponed graduation until 4 p.m. June 20. The ceremony will be held outdoors to comply with anticipated social distancing guidelines. The date and time are contingent on the downward trend of COVID-19 cases and Idaho’s progression through reopening stages.

Murtaugh

Murtaugh High School rescheduled graduation for 6:30 p.m. June 16, according to the school district’s Facebook page. The event will take place on Bennett Football Field.

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