Graduation for the Class of 2020 at Spokane Public Schools will be so memorable, they’re going to make a movie about it.
Several movies, actually, and the filming will happen this weekend at a high school near you.
The COVID-19 pandemic has altered many plans this spring, especially those of Spokane seniors and their families. Instead of the traditional celebration at the Spokane Arena, all five comprehensive high schools will feature their graduates in cap and gown in videos that will be released later this month.
“Everything is set, and we’re going to make it as exciting as we can,” said Shawn Jordan, director of secondary schools.
The main event begins Saturday morning and will be held outside the buildings at Ferris, Rogers and North Central. All three high schools will welcome their graduates, who will arrive in alphabetical order in a family vehicle, exit and walk to a stage and pick up their diploma cover.
They will also pose for videos and photos before returning to their vehicle and driving off. Family members must stay in their vehicles during the filming.
It promises to be a long day for staff at every school. For example, Ferris expectsto need 10 1/2 hours to receive all 400-plus graduates.
That’s the major reason for restricting traffic to one car per graduate, which the district acknowledged could be a hardship on noncustodial parents.
“We’re trying to capture the student in cap and gown – that’s what this is about,” Jordan said. “When you started adding two and three cars, we can’t logistically manage that.”
The job also is complicated by Department of Health requirements that each family arrive in only one vehicle – “the best model we have in our current circumstances,” Jordan said – and the possibility of rain.
As of Thursday afternoon, the forecast for Saturday calls for clouds with a chance of showers. On Sunday – when Lewis and Clark and Shadle Park plan to film their videos – there’s a possibility of thunderstorms.
“That is a concern,” said Jordan, who has arranged for canopies at each site should the need arise.
Shadle will hold its event at the school. LC’s will be at Hart Field on the South Hill.
The district had hoped to hold commencement for each school at Albi Stadium, but the state Department of Health and the office of Gov. Jay Inslee rejected the plan because of social-distancing concerns.
Those same guidelines will be in force this weekend, with sealed perimeters set up around each school “because we can’t have a gathering – that’s what the Department of Health is concerned about,” Jordan said.
Local journalism is essential.
The journalists of The Spokesman-Review are a part of the community. They live here. They work here. They care. You can help keep local journalism strong right now with your contribution. Thank you.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.