With changes in COVID-19 restrictions, officials with the Leavenworth public schools are moving forward with individual diploma presentations to graduating seniors. And a vehicle processional also is planned for this weekend to honor the seniors.
The processional will start at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Richard W. Warren Middle School, 3501 New Lawrence Road.
Jake Potter, director of public relations of the school district, said seniors will be able to dress in their cap and gowns. They also will be able to decorate their vehicles or post their names on the side of their cars.
They will drive from the middle school and head north on 10th Avenue. The processional will end at Leavenworth High School, 2012 10th Ave.
“Students will not get out of their vehicles,” Potter said.
If weather permits, staff members from Leavenworth High School will assemble at the high school campus to salute the seniors. Potter said the staff members will observe social distancing guidelines.
The event initially had been planned for May 16. But the processional was postponed based on guidance school district officials received from the governor’s office.
At the time, Kansas was in the first phase of Gov. Laura Kelly’s plan to gradually ease restrictions related to COVID-19. The state has now entered what the governor calls phase 1.5.
The earlier guidance from the governor’s office also resulted in the postponement of individual diploma presentations at the high school. But those presentations are now scheduled to begin today.
Potter said Superintendent Mike Roth and Leavenworth High School Principal Christy Jones will be participating in the presentations.
The presentations will take place in a gymnasium at the high school.
To meet restrictions on mass gatherings, only one senior will receive a diploma at a time. But each senior can be accompanied by up to five guests.
Ten minutes has been set aside for each diploma presentation.
The presentations are scheduled to continue through next week.
Some high schools are scheduling more traditional graduation ceremonies for later in the summer. But Potter said this was not an option for Leavenworth High School because many members of the senior class will be relocating.
“There really is no other way to do that,” he said.
If something were to be scheduled for the middle of June, between 15 and 20% of the graduating class may be unable to attend.
Potter also said there is no guarantee when Leavenworth High School may be able to host an event with the size of crowd that is typical for a commencement ceremony.
Footage of the individual diploma presentations will be edited into a virtual graduation video. Potter said school officials are planning to release the video June 6.