Dare County schools to host drive-in graduations next month, traditional ceremonies in July

Manteo High School's class of 2019 celebrates their graduation at Waterside Theatre on June 17. [photo courtesy DCS/Instagram]

The Dare County Board of Education on Thursday approved a high school graduation plan, which includes “drive-in” ceremonies between June 1 and 12 and an opportunity for a traditional July ceremony, if conditions warrant the ability to safely hold traditional ceremonies while protecting the health and safety of staff, students and parents.

“Drive-In” Ceremonies June 1-12

  • Each graduating senior and their family/household members will be recognized and receive their diploma at a graduation venue following social distancing guidelines between June 1 and 12. Audra Krieg of 12th Street Portraits will photograph families on stage. In addition, Baldwin Video Productions will be there to take a video for a culminating graduation video(s) that will be released by mid-June (approximate date).
  • All graduation speakers (ex. Valedictorian etc.) will be filmed giving their speeches for their school graduation video.
  • Parents will be able to download free family photos on our district website.
  • The “Drive-in” event schedule for families is as follows: June 1- 3: FFHS on the football field; June 8-10: Manteo High School at the Waterside Theatre; June 11: Cape Hatteras Secondary School on the baseball field
  • Each high school principal will provide families with a school-specific plan that includes family schedules, logistical information, social distancing guidelines, parking plans, and stage and exit protocol as well as photography guidelines. Principals will be sending their plans home to all graduating seniors and their parents over the next few days.
  • Please note that all family or household members must wear a face covering at the event. This is mandated to protect the staff and administration at each venue. Families can briefly take their face coverings off while photos are taken (if desired). In addition, each senior can briefly take their mask off (if desired) while they are photographed with their diploma. Face coverings will be provided for those who may need it.
    E. Initial rain dates are June 4, 5, and 12.
  • Our expectation is that family and household members (only) may attend the event but please keep in mind that we cannot have more than 25 individuals on-site including administration, staff, SRO’s and video personnel. Each school will contact each family to confirm a number of attendees for planning purposes. Families may be asked to reduce the number of participants if it is an excessive request that puts our capacity in jeopardy. In general, each family should be able to easily have 6-7 attendees.

Traditional Ceremonies July 17 and 18

If conditions warrant the ability to safely hold traditional ceremonies while protecting the health and safety of staff, students, and parents, DCS will hold these events on July 17 and July 18. These dates have been selected to allow a significant amount of time to pass with hopes that North Carolina could move to “phase 3” by July. While this may not necessarily be the most convenient date for everyone, we are trying to stay away from the July 4 holiday and avoid scheduling too close to August when many graduates will go off to college, the workforce, military etc.
The current proposed dates and venues are:
July 17: FFHS at 7:00 pm on the football field
July 18: MHS at 9:00 am at the Waterside Theatre
July 18: CHSS at 7:00 pm (site TBD)
In closing, we are extremely proud of the class of 2020 and are trying to do all that we can to provide the class with a special send-off. Congratulations to our seniors and their proud families and thank you for your patience and support!