BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Schools West Virginia Facebook page had a change today which came as a surprise to Buckhannon-Upshur High School students and families.
Graduation at Buckhannon-Upshur High School — previously scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, May 22 at the B-UHS football stadium — has been moved to Friday, June 26 beginning at 6 p.m. “as a result of the pandemic,” according to the page.
Superintendent of Upshur County Schools Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus said the May 22 date was changed based on guidelines issued by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice’s office. Stankus added that Friday, June 26, was always the backup date. Students may complete a request form and get their diplomas and a photo at the school on May 22, which will help accommodate students who can’t attend the later ceremony.
Dr. Joseph Reed, Medical Director for the Upshur County Health Department, said the decision to move the graduation from May 22 to June 26 came from guidelines issued at the state level, meaning the West Virginia Department of Education and the governor’s office.
“What I understand is there will be opportunities for seniors to get their diploma and get their pictures taken at the school on May 22 if needed,” Reed said. “We will have a formal ceremony in June, assuming things are open up enough that it can be done. The decision was based on the group limit of 25 people.”
Reed said they reviewed the governor’s rules and the guidelines put forth by the West Virginia Department of Education to try to find a solution that would work in May, but were simply unable to do so with the current regulations.
“The 25 number is what got us,” Reed said. “We had everything else lined up.”
A press release from Stankus about the change will be issued later today.
Below is a letter Senior Class Advisor Michael Wilson sent today to parents and guardians of members of the Class of 2020:
May 15, 2020
To the Class of 2020, parents/guardians:
Congratulations to those of you reaching this milestone towards your graduation day! The challenge for each of us has been to make this graduation as much “normal” as possibly based on our situation. Every effort has been made to hold your graduation on the football field of Buckhannon-Upshur High School on May 22, however, due to circumstances beyond our control, your graduation ceremony will be held on June 26, 2020.
On Buckhannon-Upshur High School’s Website, social media and LiveGrades, you as the senior, are to indicate your personal preference by noon on Monday, May 18.
- Have your diploma mailed to you with no ceremony.
- Receive your diploma on May 22, 2020, in the auditorium at a SCHEDULED TIME with family present, to watch as you receive the diploma and have your picture taken. These students will be included in graduation video. Each graduate and family will enter and exit through a different door, so that the next graduate and family can come in safely. This is due to the Governor’s directive of only 25 or less in a setting.
- Participate in the formal graduation ceremony June 26, 2020 at Freal “Red” Crites Stadium 6:00.
*You may opt to do both the photo opt May 22, 2020 and the ceremony, June 26, 2020, at 6:00 PM. PLEASE MARK BOTH IF THIS IS YOUR DESIRE.
The goal of holding our ceremony on the football became a reality through much planning and now, we will have the same planned ceremony, but it will take place, June 26, 2020 at 6:00 PM. Many things have changed since your voting and we have to follow the guidelines established by the governor. Importantly, there are guidelines that we must meet for this to be successful, both for you and your parents/guardians. The Upshur County Health Department, under the leadership of Dr. Reed, has given us the permission to include only parents/guardians who reside in the state of West Virginia. All persons in attendance of this graduation ceremony must follow these guidelines that have been approved for the health and safety of all. Guidelines will be also established if the ceremony would be in the Buckhannon-Upshur Auditorium due to rain. That decision will be made, Monday, June 22, 2020 by 3:00 PM.
We are recommending each parent or guardian to wear a mask for graduation. Each family member will be given a ticket and the ticket must be presented at the checkpoint before entering B-U Drive from the main road. Please understand that some of the guidelines may change due to a directive from the Governor’s Office. The guidelines that have been put in place by the state must be respected.
There will be designated individuals to assist in the parking for all those attending. Also, there will be individuals designated to assist with seating of parents/guardians in the specific areas of the bleachers for social distancing. The bleachers will be marked with designated seating areas. Again, closer to the time of the ceremony June 26, 2020, the guidelines may change.
At the end of the ceremony, individuals will dismiss the parents/guardians of the graduates from the bleacher area in an organized manner. This will help to keep social distancing for everyone leaving the campus.
Everyone attending the ceremony must have a ticket. This will include the seniors, parents/guardians and faculty members and staff. Remember, everyone attending will show their ticket before entering from the main road.
Seniors will meet to practice for the ceremony, Friday, June 26, 2020, at the field 10:00 AM. Seniors must be present to participate in the ceremony. If the ceremony is held in the auditorium due to weather conditions or changes from the Governor’s Office, then SCHEDULED TIMES for seniors will be given for receiving their diploma in their cap and gown and having family members present during the time the senior is SCHEDULED for diploma, wearing cap and gown and having picture taken.
Ladies, there cannot be any heels on the field. Your shoes should be flats. Remember ladies, the gown you are wearing is white, so be careful in the selection of what you wear underneath the gown. White or a cream colored outfits would be best.
If you are not participating in graduation and would like your diploma mailed to you, please go to a new form on the school website under “Class of 2020”, the google.doc, state that you are not walking and would like to have mailed to you your diploma. If your mailing address has changed recently, please notify the school of that change. If you are participating, PLEASE state that you are. Remember, this could be subject to change from the Governor’s Office, so please listen for any changes that may occur.
We are sorry for the changes, but as you know some things have been taken out of our hands and we have worked hard to make this the best it could be under the circumstances.
Looking forward to graduation day for the Class of 2020. Congratulations again!
Michael D. Wilson,
Senior Class Adviser
Buckhannon-Upshur High School