DOE gives green light for in-person commencement ceremonies

The DOE has announced that traditional commencement exercises have been canceled this year.
The DOE has announced that traditional commencement exercises have been canceled this year.(DOE)
Published: Feb. 23, 2022 at 4:06 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - While the pandemic limited previous commencement ceremonies, the state Department of Education released guidelines Wednesday to allow for in-person graduation.

Officials said ceremonies for the class of 2022 will be allowed as long as they follow standard school health and safety protocols as well as county social gathering regulations.

DOE said the guidelines include:

  • Ceremonies must be held outdoors or in a venue with adequate ventilation or fans/filtration systems.
  • All participants must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours prior to the ceremony.
  • Graduates will be allowed to bring a pre-set number of household members as guests. The amount of guests will be determined by each school based on capacity.
  • Masks must be worn at all times.

Officials said student participation is voluntary and that schools may consider providing a virtual option for those who do not wish to attend an in-person event and to help limit large crowds.

“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.”

The Education Department said graduation events are still in the planning stage and dates and other details will be announced in April.

Officials said the guidance is subject to change if there are any developments that would compromise the health or safety of students and staff.

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