Vancouver schools announce graduation plans


In-person graduations are set for August, at the earliest, with some virtual celebrations before then

VANCOUVER — School districts across the state of Washington are scrambling, trying to figure out how best to honor the class of 2020, while respecting the stay-at-home order currently in place, and a ban on large gatherings.

The Jim Parsley Center, home for Vancouver Public Schools administration. Stock photo by Mike Schultz
The Jim Parsley Center, home for Vancouver Public Schools administration. Stock photo by Mike Schultz

You can read Clark County Today’s previous story about what Battle Ground, Evergreen, and Hockinson school districts are doing here.

Vancouver Public Schools announced Wednesday that district officials are planning in-person graduations for next August, following efforts to gather feedback from high school seniors.

“A recent survey of our high school seniors ranked in-person graduations as their first preference,” wrote Superintendent Steve Webb in a letter sent to families. “However, these events must be held later this summer when it is deemed safe to hold large gatherings.”

The district has set graduation dates as follows:

Aug. 13

  • Hudson’s Bay H.S., 5 p.m. at Kiggins Bowl
  • Fort Vancouver H.S., 8 p.m. at Kiggins Bowl
  • Vancouver Flex Academy, 5 p.m. at Columbia River High School stadium
  • Vancouver School of Arts & Academics, 8 p.m. at Columbia River High School stadium

Aug. 14

  • Vancouver iTech Preparatory, 5 p.m. at Kiggins Bowl
  • Skyview H.S., 8 p.m. at Kiggins Bowl 
  • Columbia River H.S., 8 p.m. at Columbia River High School stadium

If the state’s reopening plan doesn’t allow large gatherings on those dates, the backup dates will be the week of August 31 through September 4. 

Seniors will be allowed to walk the stage, but social distancing rules will be in effect for students and staff. The event will be livestreamed in order for friends and family to take part.

“In the meantime, we will celebrate our seniors with activities that follow state requirements to maintain a safe environment for all,” Webb wrote. 

Vancouver Public Schools Superintendent Steven Webb at a school board meeting in November. Photo by Chris Brown
Vancouver Public Schools Superintendent Steven Webb at a school board meeting in November. Photo by Chris Brown

That will include video celebrations for each school posted on social media and school websites. Virtual awards and recognition events for seniors will be announced June 8-9.

Seniors should watch for details from their school’s principal regarding their last day, cap and gown pickup, yearbook pickup, diplomas, and more.

“Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we navigate the difficult circumstances of the state’s closure and reopening plan,” said Webb. “We look forward to providing graduation activities that honor our seniors. We are proud of what they have accomplished throughout their school experience and want to ensure that they receive the recognition they deserve.”

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