J.H.S. Virtual Graduation Back On After I.S.B.E. Relaxes Directive

By Jeremy Coumbes on May 1, 2020 at 4:21pm

The Jacksonville High School Virtual Graduation plans are back on, following a relaxation of an ISBE directive this week.

District Superintendent Steve Ptacek has announced the Illinois State Board of Education has relaxed the directive announced this week prohibiting any kind of graduation ceremonies for the 2020 school year.

Ptacek says after much feedback from school districts throughout the state, the ISBE will allow ceremonies like those planned by JHS Principal Andrea Lee and her staff allowing students to go to the JHS Bowl by appointment to receive their diplomas individually from an administrator.

A total of five people including the graduate will be allowed to attend, and groups are required to ride in one vehicle to their appointment.

Ptacek says Principal Lee has already been in contact with students and their families to schedule their times. He says with over 200 students in the graduating class, they are asking the students and the immediate family attending to work quickly while at the Bowl.

Very quickly we are talking two to four minutes a family. We have hired a professional company to come in and video. The student will come down to the floor, their name will be announced, they will walk across the small stage and pick up their diploma from a table so we are not even having contact with each other.

They can then turn and have it on video and a picture taken and then they can exit to their car, and another car will then be directed in. They will probably have another family waiting at another door, not inside but just outside, so then we are not violating the 10 person maximum in the entire Bowl.”

Ptacek says the event will be filmed to be combined into a virtual ceremony so extended family and friends as well as the community can view the ceremony online when it is completed.

Ptacek says anyone who does not follow the guidelines set by the health department will be asked to leave immediately.

We are going to be very strict, either myself or Mr. McGuiles, or someone else from the Central Office will be there. If people come and violate this, they will be asked to leave, and they will loose their opportunity.

If they bring six or seven people, if they are not wearing masks, if they bring multiple cars, if they are taking to long, then they will be asked to leave and they will be done.

This is something we expect the community to partner with each other, in getting this large task accomplished.”

The filming of the individual ceremonies will be held next week. Ptacek is asking the public to please refrain from trying to attend or view the proceedings, as everyone will be able to view when the project is complete.

Ptacek says an official announcement will be made when the ceremony is completed and released for viewing.