Westview announces plans for in-person graduation

Brynne Paiva, Editor-in-Chief

To the delight of many seniors and their families, Westview administration recently announced plans to hold an in-person graduation June 18.

Senior Class President Brooke Gorman (12) knew at the beginning of the school year that even if the rest of the senior activities were cancelled due to the pandemic, she wanted her class to have an in-person graduation.

“Even though we’ve had to drop Prom, the Harbor Cruise, and other senior activities, I’ve always thought graduation was the most important because it marks what we’ve been working towards for four years,” Gorman said. “None of the other activities are as big of a milestone as graduation, especially since our class has worked so hard in APs and extracurriculars during high school. We want students to find themselves at a celebration of that hard work.”

ASB adviser Shannon Parker has been working all year with a graduation committee made up of ASB directors across the district to plan the ceremony. According to Parker, this group has been meeting weekly in recent months to create plans for the ceremony based on California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidelines as well as guidelines decided upon by the superintendent and principals across the district. Currently, all the high schools are planning on offering a traditional in-person ceremony, with the same readings of names and speakers as would occur during a normal year. 

As of right now, Westview plans to allow two guests per graduate, enforcing that all spectators sit in groups based on household. According to Parker, however, this two-person guest limit may change depending on whether San Diego County moves out of the orange tier before June 18. 

If San Diego remains in the orange tier, Westview is permitted to hold a ceremony at 33% capacity on the field, which includes graduates, spectators, and staff and accounts for the two-person spectator limit. According to CDPH guidelines, “Outdoor Live Events with Assigned Seats and Controlled Mixing,” which graduation ceremonies fall under, would be allowed to host at 67% capacity if San Diego moves into the less restrictive yellow tier. Governor Gavin Newsom also announced in a press conference April 6 that the tier system may be removed altogether by June 15, three days before the planned ceremony.

Parker said the graduation committee is going to plan the ceremony—and the COVID regulations that will be in place—according to the CDPH guidelines for the tier the county is in.

“Graduation isn’t just about the students, it’s about the families,” Parker said. “So as the [CDPH] tiers shift, capacity and spectator allowance is what [the graduation committee] will be keeping our eyes on. We will be looking at what percentage of our max capacity [of the field] will be allowed depending on what tier we are in.”

Regardless of the CDPH tier, Parker said, students and families can expect to be required to wear masks to the ceremony as mask-wearing is a school public health policy. Additionally, Parker said there will be a reservation system where graduates and families reserve spots for all spectators so the school knows exactly how many people to expect on graduation day.

Westview is also offering an alternative ceremony for graduates and families who may have concerns over the traditional ceremony. With this alternative, graduates and their families would reserve a time slot to go onto the field with just their small group for the graduate to hear their name called, walk across the stage to get their diploma, and take photos on the field. According to Parker, this would likely occur on the morning before the traditional ceremony, but this depends on how many graduates express interest in this alternative ceremony.

“If half the senior class wants this alternative ceremony, it would be impossible to fit everybody in the morning before graduation,” Parker said. “We will have to plan accordingly based on interest.”

The graduation committee will be sending out a survey in the weeks leading up to the ceremony to gauge this interest and plan the alternative ceremony accordingly. For graduates and families who attend the alternative ceremony, the traditional ceremony will be live-streamed so they can enjoy the speakers and watch their classmates receive diplomas. 

Gorman said she is excited for the class to be together again to celebrate after nearly a year and a half of seeing each other only through Zoom calls. 

“We haven’t seen each other in so long and many of us may never see each other again,” Gorman said. “That’s why celebrating this milestone together, sitting on the field together, is so important. I’m excited and I hope the rest of the seniors are too.”