In response to further changes to New York State guidelines for outdoor gatherings announced last 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.
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.
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. The decision to reschedule Graduation 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.
- The ceremony may be watched live at the following link: https://egcsd.org/classof2021graduation
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. Only the graduate and four guests are permitted on campus for this year’s diploma ceremony.
Q: What is the length of the graduation ceremony?
A: Approximately 90 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: Do students or their parents need a negative COVID test to attend graduation?
Q: Are face masks required at graduation?
A: Face masks are not required for fully vaccinated individuals. However, masks are still required for unvaccinated individuals.
Q: What are the parking procedures?
A: Families should drop their students off in front of the school’s main lobby and then follow directions of parking attendants. 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.
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 from 9:00-10:30 a.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.