Graduation ceremonies will again be drive-up events this June for Comox Valley students. File photo

Graduation ceremonies will again be drive-up events this June for Comox Valley students. File photo

Comox Valley grads still driving up for diplomas

Changes to COVID restrictions won’t happen soon enough for full gatherings

Even with recent provincial announcements about loosening COVID restrictions, it won’t happen soon enough for this year’s graduates.

Assistant superintendent Geoff Manning provided an update to the board of education at the May 25 meeting.

“Last year, we had basically drive-thru grads,” he said.

The provincial government’s plan, as of May 25, allows organized outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people and 10 for indoors, with COVID safety plans in place. On June 15 or later, this goes to the second phase, which expands organized indoor events to 50 people, with a COVID safety plan. The date will depend on vaccination rates and case counts.

RELATED STORY: B.C. COVID restart plan: Here’s who you can see, and where, as province reopens

“That still isn’t enough to affect what we’re planning,” he said.

RELATED STORY: Comox Valley grad parade routes and traffic advisory

Manning said senior staff have been communicating with the secondary schools about their plans. The idea is to have the students drive up and walk across the stage to receive diplomas, with a little time for photo opportunities. There will also been video opportunities to watch the valedictory speeches and other presentations.

“They’re planning very similar events to last year,” he said. “All three grads will take place on June 26.”

Georges P. Vanier Secondary’s ceremony will begin at 1 p.m., while Highland and Mark R. Isfeld will start their events at 2 p.m. In addition, Glacier View is planning an event for their students at 1 p.m. on June 24. It will happen along the same lines as last year’s drive-up event.

“It was just like a drive-in movie,” Manning said.

Manning also noted there will be an event with video for four students from Nala’atsi School set for June 10.

He conceded the situation was not ideal for the graduating students, but they at least were better prepared than a year ago.

“Probably the only good news about this is that everybody’s used this format now. They’ve done it once successfully,” he said.

Board of education members wanted to know about their ability to watch ceremonies. Trustee Janice Caton said she always enjoyed the events, particularly at Glacier View, but she was not able to watch their a year ago because of pandemic restrictions.

“It’s one of my favourite grad ceremonies to watch,” she said.

Superintendent Tom Demeo responded the school district will invite trustees to watch.

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