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Columbia High School has invited students in the Class of 2020 and their parents to a Senior Family Celebration on Tuesday, June 16 at the Malta Drive-In Theatre. The program will start at 9:00 p.m. and celebrate students with special videos, pre-recorded speeches and the display of all graduates’ names on the movie theater screen. Everyone in attendance must remain in their cars during the event to ensure proper social distancing.

Diplomas will not be given out at this event. Columbia intends to distribute diplomas to students at a graduation ceremony in July.

“At this point there have been no state-wide or county-wide determinations permitting school graduation ceremonies,” Principal Michael Harkin wrote in an email to seniors and their parents. “The state’s current guidelines on social gatherings only permit 10 people for group gatherings so we are unable to hold Option 1, our proposed diploma ceremonies at this time. However, we are hoping that as our region continues to re-open, our plan will become possible.”

The East Greenbush Central School District surveyed seniors and their parents recently with potential options for a graduation ceremony. The vast majority of respondents did not want a purely virtual event. This current plan provides graduates with another special event later this month and keeps open the possibility of an in-person ceremony in which graduates can wear their caps and gowns and receive their high school diplomas.

“It’s important to all of us in the East Greenbush Central School District that the Class of 2020 is recognized and can receive their diplomas at a graduation ceremony,” said Superintendent Jeff Simons. “They have worked extremely hard over the years, and we understand what they have missed out on this year. So we’re going to do everything possible to make this happen.”