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MEDFORD, Ore. — With Governor Kate Brown's announcement in early April that Oregon schools would remained closed into summer due to the coronavirus, the fate of the graduating Class of 2020 — beyond simply gaining a diploma — was thrown into doubt. The accustomed ceremonies immediately became untenable.
Since then, each school district has worked to find a way they can honor their graduating seniors with some measure of pomp and circumstance while still adhering to state social distancing guidelines.
Here are some of the plans announced so far by districts across southern Oregon:
St. Mary's School
St. Mary's Class of 2020 got their graduation parade on May 21. Students and parents decorated their vehicles and drove by the school as seniors arrived to receive their caps and gowns, yearbooks, and gifts.
Medford High School (North, South, & Central)
Medford's graduation ceremonies begin on May 29 with the Grad Drive, visiting schools around the district. The drive is followed by diploma walks on May 30 and June 4, and a virtual tribute to seniors streaming on each school's Facebook page. A larger community celebration is still to be announced.
Grants Pass High School
On Wednesday, GPHS held a modified version of its annual Senior Walk as seniors came to pick up their caps and gowns — signing a stretch of sidewalk on the school campus. Graduation is planned for June 26, but the precise plans are still under consideration as administrators try to plan around continued restrictions on gatherings.
Ashland High School
Ashland will honor its seniors on May 29 with a socially distanced parade around the district, with school staff spaced around the parade route to cheer seniors on. Seniors already picked up their caps and gowns earlier in the month. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m.
Eagle Point High School
EPHS delivered signs to every senior for them to display at home. The school is holding a stripped-down version of a traditional graduation ceremony on June 6, with students walking up to a stage to receive their diplomas. There will also be a "reverse parade" in downtown Eagle Point with seniors standing on the sidewalk while cars drive by to congratulate them, followed by fireworks at the stadium.
Rogue River Junior-Senior High School
RRJSHS has a graduation ceremony planned for June 6 at 10 a.m., beginning with a parade procession from Rogue River Center to the school. This is a "drive-in" graduation where students and families will be in vehicles, but graduates will be able to get out and go up to the stage to receive their diplomas. The event will also be livestreamed for the community to see.
Crater High School
Crater High School's graduation is set for June 3, featuring a community parade from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and a live broadcast from the football stadium beginning at 8 p.m. The grad ceremony includes live presentations from the the superintendent, school administrators and the Valedictorians — followed by the National Anthem presented by Crater students and then cap and gown pictures of the graduates.
Logos Public Charter School
Logos graduation is set for May 28-29 at the school. About half of the graduating seniors will walk on Thursday and the other half on Friday. Each senior will have time to walk across the stage with their families in attendance.
Glendale High School
The Glendale High School Graduation Parade will be held on June 5. The parade starts at 6:00 p.m. at the high school, travel to the elementary school and then down the main street of Glendale before returning to the high school. The Glendale High School Class of 2020 graduation celebration video will be available for public viewing beginning June 3rd on the district website.
More school graduation plans and stories will be added as NewsWatch 12 receives them.