SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Officials in San Francisco on Tuesday announced a partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District to host COVID-safe outdoor commencement ceremonies for students graduating from high school this year.
The announcement issued by San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Ahsha Safaí Tuesday stated that the socially-distanced celebrations will be held at Kezar Stadium and at the McAteer High School campus overlooking Glen Canyon.READ MORE: Flooding In Santa Rosa Bennett Valley Neighborhood Forces Evacuations
“Graduation is a special time for our students and their loved ones. I remember how exciting my own high school graduation was, and the joy and pride we all felt being able to cross that stage and get our diplomas in front of our friends and family,” Mayor Breed said in the announcement. “While this year has been anything but a normal senior year for our high school students, we’re glad we can help bring some semblance of normalcy to this year’s graduation ceremonies.”
The staggered ceremonies provided by Graduations for All will take place on June 1-3, 2021 for 4,000 public school graduates, officials said. Schools with large graduating classes — including Lowell, Burton, Galileo, Washington, Balboa, O’Connell, Mission, Lincoln, Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, Marshall and Wallenberg — will be hosted at Kezar Stadium. Students from smaller public high schools such as the Academy SF, Civic Center Secondary, Downtown, Hilltop, Independence, Ida B. Wells, June Jordan School for Equity, SF International and Youth Chance will have their commencements held at McAteer High School.
City officials assured that the graduation ceremonies would be in compliance with all state and local health guidance, including at least two hours between events for thorough disinfection, breakdown and set up. Students will be seated six feet apart and each student will receive tickets to bring up to four guests. Family pods of four will also sit at least six feet from each other in the audience.READ MORE: Video: San Rafael Streets Flooded as Wild, Wet Storm Lashes Bay Area
“I’m so happy our seniors will be able to celebrate this important moment in their lives in the company of their teachers, peers and families,” said SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews. “Just like our schools, our city’s public spaces are there for our children and families. I’m grateful we have come together to find a way to safely mark this momentous occasion.”
“Our high schoolers have had to endure one of the most difficult years in recent memory. That is why I am proud to have supported an initiative by youth commissioner, Erika Morris, that encompasses the spirit of when adolescents move on to the next phase in their life—graduation,” said Supervisor Safaí. “This should be a time of happiness, celebration, families and communities coming together. It is wonderful Mayor Breed has found the resources to make Graduation for All a reality for the Class of 2021.”
City officials noted that coordinating the graduations at two sites over three days will reduce the costs of set-up, sound systems and implementing COVID-19 safety protocols, but said safely holding outdoor graduations comes with additional costs. Officials are currently raising funds to provide audio-visual support so families in the audience can view closeups of their graduates receiving diplomas, as well as to provide livestreaming to loved ones who are unable to attend.MORE NEWS: Atmospheric River: More Than 130,000 Affected by Widespread Bay Area Outages
More detailed commencement information will be provided through SFUSD at sfusd.edu/2021graduation