The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois State Board of Education Saturday night reversed its prior decision from late in the week, now allowing drive-thru and individual high school graduation ceremonies.
This came after an outcry from school superintendents and high school seniors from across the state, that had already planned such events to comply with the state’s social distancing rules.
The 2 agencies are allowing drive-in graduation with students, and only their immediate family members who are staying at home together, should arrive and remain in cars for the entire ceremony. Before or after the ceremony, students may exit their cars individually, in their cap and gown if available, to have photos taken so long as social distancing requirements are followed.
Drive-through graduation is being allowed with students, and only their immediate family members who are staying at home together, arriving in waves and leave after their individual recognition. Students may exit the car individually, in their cap and gown if available, to have a photo taken.
A high school graduation individualized ceremony at the school is being allowed with individual students coming to the school at prearranged times to walk across a stage in their cap and gown and have a photo taken. This may also be coordinated with time for students to pick up any personal belongings at the school. All efforts must be made to ensure social distancing and prevent mass gatherings of people.
And the state is also allowing an individualized ceremony with school officials visiting each graduate’s home, while remaining outside and at least six feet away, to congratulate and take photos of each graduate in their cap and gown and holding their diploma. This type of recognition may need to be conducted over the course of several days depending on the class size.
A Taylorville High School senior, Molly Smith, released a “Letter to the Governor” to Regional Radio on Friday, asking that Taylorville’s drive-thru graduation previously planned, to be allowed. Pressure from Smith, along with high school seniors and school superintendents across the state that had also previously planned drive-thru graduations, likely weighed in the state’s reversal.
Read the full decision of IDPH and ISBE here.