COVID-19 Updates and Information

Daily COVID-19 Screening Form | COVID-19 Updates | COVID-19 Forms | Find a COVID-19 Vaccine | Reopening Plans

Select Page

Columbia Graduation stage from June 2020Columbia High School will host four Graduation Ceremonies for the Class of 2021 on Friday, June 25 on the CHS turf field. The plan, which has been developed by school administrators and submitted to the Questar III BOCES Health and Safety Department and the Rensselaer County Health Department, will allow for 90 students, with two guests each, at each of the four events.

The first graduation ceremony is scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m. and each event is expected to run 45 minutes in duration. Families will receive a follow-up letter prior to graduation that will include the time of their child’s graduation ceremony, their parking location and a field map.

A 30-minute break between ceremonies will allow for cleaning and disinfecting of chairs, bleachers and the stage.

Graduation Ceremony Schedule

  • Graduation Ceremony 1 – 4:00-4:45 p.m.
  • Graduation Ceremony 2 – 5:15-6:00 p.m.
  • Graduation Ceremony 3 – 6:30-7:15 p.m.
  • Graduation Ceremony 4 – 7:45-8:30 p.m.

The East Greenbush Central School District will livestream the event for friends, relatives and community members who are unable to attend the event due to restrictions on large group gatherings. The school will pre-record speeches and combine this with the four diploma ceremonies to provide each student with a full graduation video.

The district has been consulting with Questar BOCES and the Rensselaer County Health Department to ensure compliance with current public health guidelines.

In the event of rain, Columbia Graduation would be rescheduled to Saturday, June 26 at the same location (Graduation Ceremony 1, 9:00-9:45 a.m.; Graduation Ceremony 2, 10:15-11:00 a.m.; Graduation Ceremony 3, 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.; Graduation Ceremony 4, 12:45-1:30 p.m.). The decision to reschedule Graduation would be made by school administrators and communicated with parents via email and text alert.

Event Logistics/Safety Procedures

  • Four individual ceremonies with 90 graduates, and two guests, at each event
  • Only the graduate and two guests will be allowed on the campus
  • Security will be in parking lots and assist families as to when to enter and exit the field. We will close the gates between ceremonies to ensure the safety of everyone.
  • East Greenbush Police Department will be present on campus to help ensure safety protocols are followed
  • Students and parents must show attestation pass on their phones and have temperature checked to enter the stadium
  • COVID testing is not required for this event because the audience capacity (guests in the bleachers) will not reach 200 people
  • Students will sit in the 90 chairs on the field in 6 rows of 15 all socially distanced
  • Guests will sit in the bleachers in pairs socially distanced. It is imperative that you remain in your assigned seats.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be available upon entering the football field
  • Seats and hand rails on the stage and bleachers will be cleaned between each ceremony
  • Masks must be worn by everyone in attendance at all times with the exception of the graduate at the professional photographer station

Ceremony

  • Traditional graduation music “Pomp and Circumstance” will play while students enter and exit the field
  • Each diploma ceremony will begin with the National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance and a welcome address
  • Each row of students will be ushered to the stage where a 6-foot spacing marker will be clearly labeled for each student
  • Student’s names will be called and they can remove their mask, walk across the stage, and pause for a picture
  • A table will be located just off the stage to allow students to receive their diploma. Each diploma will be decoratively labeled, wrapped, and sealed for the safety of the students.
  • A photographer will be located off the stage to take a picture of the graduate with their diploma. Once the photo is taken, the graduate must put their mask back on.
  • Students will return to their seats after receiving their diploma.
  • Once all diplomas are given out the students will process back out and meet their families in the parking lot.
  • Each ceremony should take approximately 45 minutes, leaving 30 minutes to sanitize chairs, bleachers and the stage while we reset for the next ceremony.
  • Graduates should depart campus immediately so the field can be prepared for the next group
  • The ceremony may be watched live at the following link: https://egcsd.org/classof2021graduation

FAQ: Graduation

Q: When will students receive their cap and gowns?
A: Cap and gown distribution is scheduled for Friday, June 18  and Monday, June 21 during school. Seniors will also be returning their chromebooks at this time.  If your student has not ordered a cap and gown Jostens will be at Columbia on Friday, June 18 from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. to accept orders.

Q: Is there a graduation rehearsal?
A: No, there is no planned graduation rehearsal for this year’s ceremony.

Q: Will students be receiving tickets for this year’s graduation?
A: Tickets will not be dispersed this year. Due to the state’s strict regulations for socially distanced graduation ceremonies, only the graduate and two guests are permitted on campus for this year’s diploma ceremony.

Q: What is the length of the graduation ceremony?
A: Each ceremony will last approximately 45 minutes.

Q: What should students wear under their robes?
A: Appropriate attire should be worn under the student’s gown. Light colored dress attire should be worn (dresses/dress pants. Students need to climb and descend stairs and appropriate footwear should be worn. Flip-flops are not appropriate and have caused students to fall down the stairs in past ceremonies.

Q: What time do graduates and their parents need to be at Columbia High School for the graduation ceremony?
A: Graduates and their parents should arrive 15 minutes before the start of their assigned diploma ceremony. A letter will be sent to families the week prior to graduation.

Q: Do students or their parents need a negative COVID test to attend graduation?
A: No. In compliance with New York State Department of Health regulations, the audience size (guests in the bleachers) will stay under 200 people.

Q: Are face masks required at graduation?
A: Yes. All graduates and their guests must wear face masks. Graduates may only remove their face mask when walking across the stage and at the professional photographer station.

Q: What are the parking procedures?
A: Graduates will be assigned parking spaces in advance and must remain in the car until directed to enter the field.

Q: What happens if it rains?
A: In the event of rain, Columbia Graduation would be rescheduled to Saturday, June 26 at the same location (Graduation Ceremony 1, 9:00-9:45 a.m.; Graduation Ceremony 2, 10:15-11:00 a.m.; Graduation Ceremony 3, 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.; Graduation Ceremony 4, 12:45-1:30 p.m.). The decision to reschedule Graduation would be made by school administrators and communicated with parents via email and text alert.

Q: When will students in the National Honors Society (NHS) receive their gold cords?
A: Students will receive their gold cords with their caps and gowns.

Graduation Ceremony Schedule – Friday, June 25

Graduation Ceremony 1
4:00-4:45 p.m.
Last Name Koh-Prem

Graduation Ceremony 2
5:15-6:00 p.m.
Last Name Dei-Koe

Graduation Ceremony 3
6:30-7:15 p.m.
Last Name A-Dec

Graduation Ceremony 4
7:45-8:30 p.m.
Last Name Pres-Z