In response to further changes to New York State guidelines for outdoor gatherings announced earlier this week, Columbia High School has consolidated its three graduation ceremonies and will instead host one graduation for the Class of 2021 on Friday, June 25 on the CHS turf field at 4:00 p.m.
The lifting of capacity limits and social distancing requirements will allow for the entire Class of 2021 to attend graduation together.
“We are so pleased that the entire Class of 2021, a remarkable group of students, can graduate together, celebrating how they’ve distinguished themselves as a class during a school year like no other,” said Superintendent of Schools Jeff Simons.
Graduation is expected to run approximately 90 minutes in duration.
According to updated state guidelines, restrictions on social distancing, temperature checks and disinfecting have been removed for outdoor gatherings including graduation ceremonies. Fully vaccinated individuals are also not required to wear masks during the ceremony. Masks are still required for unvaccinated individuals.
The updated 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 all 350 seniors, with four guests each, to attend a unified graduation ceremony.
Goff Middle School to Host One Elevation Celebration
Howard L. Goff Middle School will follow the plan for Columbia Graduation and also host one Elevation Celebration for all 8th grade students on Thursday, June 24 at 4:00 p.m. on the CHS turf field. Each student may be joined by up to four guests.
Both Events Will Be Live Streamed
The East Greenbush Central School District will livestream both events for friends, relatives and community members who are unable to attend.
The district will produce a Columbia Graduation video and Goff Elevation Celebration video and post them on the school website.
Graduation/Elevation Celebration Parent Meeting – Monday, June 21 at 6 p.m.
School administrators will host a virtual parent meeting on Monday, June 21 at 6:00 p.m. to discuss the updated plans for both Columbia Graduation and Goff Elevation Celebration. Parents can watch the virtual meeting at www.egcsd.org.
In the event of rain on Friday, June 25, Columbia Graduation would be rescheduled to Saturday, June 26 at the same location from 9:00-10:30 a.m.
In the event of rain on Thursday, June 24, Goff Elevation Celebration would be rescheduled to Friday, June 25 at the same location from 9:00-10:30 a.m.
The decision to reschedule Graduation or Elevation Celebration would be made by school administrators and communicated with parents via email and text alert.
Event Logistics/Safety Procedures
- Each student may be joined by up to four guests
- Only one vehicle per student will be permitted on campus due to limited parking
- Columbia’s campus will open at 3:00 p.m. and school staff will be in parking lots to direct families
- Graduates should be dropped off in front of the main lobby and then families should follow directions of staff to the appropriate parking lot
- Supplemental parking will be available at the East Greenbush Tech Park (30 Tech Valley Drive, East Greenbush, NY, 12061) with a free shuttle bus available starting at 3:15 p.m. School staff will be on site to help direct parking. Anyone riding on the shuttle bus must wear a mask in accordance with federal guidelines.
- East Greenbush Police Department will be present on campus to help ensure safety protocols are followed
- COVID testing is not required for this event
- Proof of vaccination status is not required at this event
- Students will sit in chairs on the field facing the stage
- Spectator seating will be available in the bleachers and in chairs on field level
- Restrooms and hand sanitizing stations will be available
- Masks are not required for fully vaccinated individuals according to state guidance issued June 7, 2021. Masks are still required for unvaccinated individuals.