SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Students, parents, school administrators, teachers, and staff made a number of sacrifices over the past year, to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sports games were scaled-down, large gatherings such as some school dances were canceled, and many graduation ceremonies were moved online. It wasn’t the milestone celebration that high school seniors looked forward to, but it was definitely one they will never forget.
This year, many of Utah’s upcoming graduating high school students will have the chance to attend their ceremonies in-person, as the state rolls back its COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings. So how do students feel about the big move after a difficult year? Is there anything they need to be concerned or cautious about? How will they remember 2021’s commencement?
Neema Delphine, who is a senior at Jordan High School joined ABC4’s Jason Nguyen on the CW30 News at 7 p.m. for an IN FOCUS discussion about her reaction to the announcement about in-person ceremonies. She was a representative of the Canyons Board of Education Student Advisory Council and reflected on seeing last year’s virtual graduation ceremonies. She shared how she navigated her last year of school learning remotely, what her message is to incoming seniors, and how she’ll look back on this past year.
Yandary Chatwin, Executive Director of Communications and Community Relations for the Salt Lake City School District talked about how they will be handling crowds and capacity at this year’s graduation ceremonies, whether masks will be required, how the district feels about the impact of remote learning on their low COVID-19 case counts, and how she thinks the pandemic year will be remembered in Salt Lake City.
Dr. Todd Vento, Medical Director of Infectious Diseases at Intermountain Healthcare discussed how everyone from the organizers to the guests can stay safe at graduation events, how likely the virus is to spread during this time at large gatherings like these, and how much longer he thinks we’ll need safety measures like physical distancing and masking.
To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Delphine, Chatwin, and Dr. Vento, click on the video at the top of the article.
Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.