Graduation is a special time to commemorate and honor the accomplishments of our seniors. Locally, the Wenatchee and Eastmont school districts have been working in partnerships with the Chelan-Douglas Health District to explore various options for safely hosting graduation ceremonies amid the COVID-19 pandemic. After careful evaluation of the virus’s impact in the community and in consultation with Chelan-Douglas Health District Administrator, Barry Kling, Confluence Health CEO Dr. Peter Rutherford, and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Stewart Freed, the two districts have decided to move forward with transitioning graduation ceremonies to a virtual platform.
Collectively, Eastmont and Wenatchee will graduate over 1000 seniors in the class of 2020. An in-person event of any kind has the potential to draw large crowds of families and friends, increasing the likelihood of COVID-19 exposure. “There is simply too much at stake and we do not want to risk the health and safety of our students and families,” said Wenatchee Superintendent Dr. Paul Gordon. “We recognize that our students are not huge fans of this idea. This is a far cry from what they had anticipated for years but with Governor Inslee’s extended stay-at-home order through the end of May and current outlook from health experts we feel this decision is in the best interest of our whole community.”
The resilience and adaptivity required to thrive in the face of unprecedented situations are characteristics embodied by the Class of 2020. Recognizing that high school graduation is a milestone for students and families, and one that is celebrated by the whole community, Wenatchee and Eastmont will broadcast virtual graduation ceremonies on the NCWLIFE Channel (LocalTel Channel 12, Charter Channel 19 and online at ncwlife.com) on the dates and during the times they would normally be held. Virtual ceremonies will consist of pre-recorded speeches and be punctuated with pictures and announcements of graduate names.
Wenatchee High School, June 5, 8 - 10 PM
Eastmont High School, June 5, 6 - 8 PM
WestSide High School, June 11, 7-8 PM
Looking ahead, there is great uncertainty about the feasibility of an in-person celebration in the late summer or during winter break. It would be unfair to students and families to set a date and expectation on a future graduation event that the districts may not be able to deliver due to the unpredictable nature of the virus. The Wenatchee and Eastmont school districts are committed to continuing to work closely with the Health District and local healthcare authorities on this and other important school events.