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Columbia turf fieldEDITOR’S NOTE: New York State removed the mask mandate for outdoor school activities effective June 7, 2021. This means masks are not required for Goff Middle School Elevation Celebration. However, students, staff and guests are free to wear masks if they so choose.

Howard L. Goff Middle School will host three Elevation Celebration ceremonies for 8th graders on Thursday, June 24 on the Columbia High School 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 approximately 100 students, with four guests each, at each of the three events.

The first ceremony is scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m. and each event is expected to run 75 minutes in duration. Families will receive a letter that will include the time of their child’s 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.

Elevation Celebration Schedule

  • Ceremony 1 – 4:00-5:15 p.m.
  • Ceremony 2 – 5:45-7:00 p.m.
  • Ceremony 3 – 7:30-8:45 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. The school will pre-record speeches and combine this with the three Elevation Celebration ceremonies to provide a full Elevation Celebration 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, Elevation Celebration would be rescheduled to Friday, June 25 at the same location (Ceremony 1, 9:00-10:15 a.m.; Ceremony 2, 10:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m.; Ceremony 3, 12:30-1:45 p.m.). The decision to reschedule Elevation Celebration would be made by school administrators and communicated with parents via email and text alert.

Event Logistics/Safety Procedures

  • Three individual ceremonies with approximately 100 students, and four guests, at each event
  • Only the student and four guests will be allowed on the campus
  • Students will be dropped off outside the main lobby entrance to Columbia and screened before reporting to the library
  • Students will be given their name card in the library and sent out to the access road to line-up for the procession
  • 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) will not reach 500 people
  • Students will sit in chairs on the field all socially distanced
  • Guests will sit on the field in pods of four chairs socially distanced. It is imperative that you remain in your seats throughout the event.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be available upon entering the field
  • Seats and hand rails on the stage and bleachers will be cleaned between each ceremony
  • Masks are not required for Elevation Celebration, according to state guidance issued June 7, 2021. However, students, staff and guests are free to wear masks if they so choose.


  • Each 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
  • Students names will be called then they can walk across the stage, and pause for a picture
  • A table will be located just off the stage to allow students to receive their certificate. Each certificate will be wrapped and sealed for the safety of the students.
  • A photographer will be located off the stage to take a picture of the student with their certificate
  • Students will return to their seats after receiving their certificate.
  • At the end of the ceremony, students will process back out to the parking lot. Guests should return to their cars in the parking lot, meet their students, and exit campus.
  • Each ceremony should take approximately 70 minutes, leaving time to sanitize chairs, bleachers and the stage while we reset for the next ceremony.
  • The ceremony may be watched live at the following link: