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RISD plans summer graduation ceremonies

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Seniors of Roswell Independent School District could get a graduation ceremony this summer if restrictions on public gatherings are lifted in June or July. The district is also planning a virtual celebration of its graduates through the summer.

Although RISD is still waiting for approval of its graduation plans from the Public Education Department, the district released information late Thursday afternoon in a flyer posted on its Facebook page. The flyer will also be posted to the district website.

RISD Superintendent Mike Gottlieb said he expects it will be next week before the district hears from the PED on the approval.

An all-district graduation ceremony is tentatively planned for June 19 and 20 if restrictions are lifted by June 15, with July 17 and 18 as an alternative.

If restrictions are not lifted by July 13, however, the district will not conduct any ceremonies.

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“We use the cut-off dates of the 15th of June or 13th of July so that we have time to set up and it gives us time to work with the parents and the kids,” Gottlieb said.

“We tried to do as much as we could since our kids have missed so much, particularly our seniors since it’s the end of their year and all the work that the parents and the kids have put in over these last 12, 13 years,” he said.

The plans are designed around social distancing and other safety guidelines but depend on the restriction of the number of people allowed at gatherings being lifted.

“We have everything else planned out, we have our safety plan in place,” Gottlieb said.

“Because of the issue with the virus, we’re trying to be very careful and modify everything to meet the governor’s requirements,” he said.

A location and times for the ceremonies have not yet been finalized, as it depends on what the state’s health orders will say, as well as taking into account the heat in June and July, Gottlieb said.

“We will try to do as much as we can but still stay within the guidelines from the PED,” he said.

No matter what happens, RISD will honor its 2020 graduates through a display on the RISD website as well as electronic bulletin boards located at 2710 N. Main St. and 3204 N. Main St.

The displays will have the school colors, a photo of the student and their name. Those displays will run for four weeks. A start date for the virtual celebration is not yet decided.

“We’re doing all the work ourselves, so they’re starting that. I want to make sure it’s done right and looks nice,” Gottlieb said.

Seniors whose photo was not included in the school yearbook should send a photo to their high school principal to be included in the virtual display, according to the flyer.

Parents and students will be contacted by their schools through robocalls, email or Google Classroom with more details as they become available, Gottlieb said.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.