By DEUCE NIVEN
Commencement details are taking shape for the Columbus County Schools, graduation promising to be very different for the Class of 2020 enduring the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ceremonies will be outside for seniors at South, West and East Columbus high schools, and the Columbus Career and College Academy, a Columbus County Schools’ news release said.
A new website, here at ccsgraduation.com, will provide school-by-school details on the graduation plans, which are still being worked out, and on ways to listen in or view each of the proceedings online. Details on where to enter, dress code and other specifics will also be posted as they become available.
Crowd size and social distancing regulations and recommendations prompted the drive-through commencement plan, approved by the county’s Board of Education Tuesday.
“This decision was made in close collaboration with the Columbus County Health Department, and was voted as a preference by seniors over waiting until later in the year,” the news release said.
“Our hearts go out to our seniors who have lost so much,” Supt. Deanne Meadows said. “This is their day. We let them decide when they wanted to have the ceremony, and then each school came up with a plan to honor our graduates while keeping everyone safe and in compliance with state and local guidelines.”
Specifics will vary from school to school. Cars will line up outside a specific area, the football field at South and East Columbus, and proceed, one at a time, to a stage area.
Students will get out of the cars in very small, socially distanced groupings, walk across the stage to be recognized, and then leave the grounds or travel to another part of the campus.
Ceremonies will be carried live on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Spectrum Cable 1304, ATMCTV Cable 97, and the CCS Roku Channel. WZCO 89.9 FM will carry the ceremony live, and participants will be able to hear the entire presentation no matter the location.
Graduation dates and times, as now scheduled, include:
- South Columbus: 8 a.m. on May 23, rain date May 26
- West Columbus: 6 p.m. May 22, rain date May 27
- East Columbus: 6 p.m. May 21, rain date May 26
- Columbus Career and College Academy (at Southeastern Community College: 10 a.m. May 22, rain date May 27.