ALLEN – Allen Consolidated Schools (ACS) will be honoring their 2020 graduates on Saturday, June 27 in their gymnasium. The event will start at 2 p.m. They ask attendees observe social distancing guidelines. Lots of planning was required to make this possible.
Lana Oswald is the principal for grades 7-12 at Allen. She elaborates on the backup plans the board constructed in their April meeting.
“Administration and school board talked about the fact that maybe we ought to have some backup plans, so there was originally a plan made for June 27th, which is this Saturday,” she recalled. “And then if for some reason the state still had restrictions and we couldn’t do that (June 27th date) then we had another backup date in August.”
Many schools gave up on conducting an in-person commencement and decided on a virtual version. Oswald mentioned that Allen considered this option, but a parent and student survey showed that they favored a traditional in-person commencement. The board even deliberated about having a parade-style ceremony.
Not unlike every other business or event that has become available to the public recently, there will be a handful of restrictions. One of those is capacity limitations. Oswald talked about the person-limit inside the gymnasium.
“About two weeks ago we thought we were going to be able to have 25% capacity, which would be about 200 people in our gym,” she stated. “However, a couple weeks ago when Governor Ricketts changed that to 50%, that meant that we could add another 200.”
There are 12 graduating seniors, each allotted 15 invitations. For people without an invitation, enter through the northwest doors. People with invitations must enter through the east doors. Don’t forget to bring that invitation because they must be presented at the door. Administration will count the first 200 people that walk in the northwest doors, after that the doors will be closed. Invitees will sit behind the students on the floor, while walk-ins will sit in the bleachers. Oswald remarked that the 400 total capacity won’t be much different than past years.
There will be hand sanitizer and masks available. Guests are encouraged to wear a mask, but it isn’t required. Socializing and picture taking is prohibited following the ceremony.
With all the crazy circumstances surrounding the world right now, Oswald applauded the class of 2020 for their determination.
“We’re so proud of our kids. They’ve had a tough year. They’ve had to overcome some obstacles that no one could have ever dreamed of, so we’re especially proud of them,” Oswald proclaimed.
As far as the 2020-21 school year goes, Allen has many different plans ready. Of course, the ideal scenario would be starting on their originally planned start date. Other options include starting after Labor Day and possibly even later than that. Also, they might try shaking up the system within each week by having different grades report on different days. For now, Oswald hopes that classes with convene on the original date and that is the current plan. Although we all know things can change extremely fast.
A live stream will be available for those that cannot make it to the ceremony. To view the stream on Saturday, June 27th, or for more information visit the school’s website at https://www.allenschools.org/.