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In-Person High School Graduation Ceremonies to Return

February 24, 2022, 9:23 AM HST
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In-person high school graduation commencement ceremonies are returning.

On Wednesday, Feb. 23, the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education released guidelines to allow for in-person school commencement and transition ceremonies that protect the health and safety of students, staff and families.

“Graduations are such a special milestone for our students and families, especially in Hawaii, and I know it has been difficult having modified ceremonies for the past two years,” Interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi said. “We look forward to providing our graduates with the ceremonies that they so deeply deserve while still maintaining the health and safety of our students and staff as a top priority.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several regulations remain in place, including requiring all participants to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours prior to the ceremony. Masks must be worn at all times. Graduates may be allowed to bring a pre-set number of household members as guests.

Student participation is voluntary. Schools may consider providing a virtual option for those who do not wish to attend an in-person event and to help promote smaller crowd sizes. Ceremonies must be held outdoors or in a venue with adequate ventilation or fans/filtration systems.

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Third-party venues that comply with county social gathering rules are allowed.

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School graduation and transition ceremonies are still in the planning stages. Dates and other details will be announced in April. The guidance is subject to change if there are any developments that would compromise the health or safety of students and staff.

“This guidance aims to provide flexibility for schools in safely bringing together graduates and families for this momentous occasion as we continue to monitor COVID-19 conditions,” Hayashi said. “Planning for ceremonies must balance the desire to honor graduates while ensuring that our schools do not create an added risk to exposure and spread of the virus.”

Click here to view the full list of guidelines.

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