A ‘traditional’ graduation with limitations?

Posted on Apr 27 2021

The Public School System’s administration is attempting to work with the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force to come up with a plan for a more traditional graduation with limitations for the upcoming Class of 2021.

Board of Education chair Andrew Orsini said that many graduating students have expressed a desire to have a traditional graduation—an in-person graduation—with some limitations that fit into the COVID-19 guidelines.

Orsini said the conversation whether to have an in-person graduation or not was brought up in a previous board meeting, with students and parents wanting a “more formal graduation ceremony” for the students. He said if BOE and PSS will accommodate that, then Rota and Tinian will also be having an in-person graduation.

Orsini said last year’s graduating class had no choice but to have a virtual graduation. With the upcoming graduates, the PSS administration is looking into working with the task force to see how an in-person graduation can happen.

“We should look at the students’ wants, and these students worked hard to get to where they’re at and [this is their] last school year. I think it’s important for them because you don’t graduate from high school all the time, you graduate once. ….If things ease up by May, hopefully something will come up and develop,” said Orsini.

Regardless of how the graduation will happen, Orsini said that the BOE and PSS will try to make it “better” for the high school graduating classes.

As for students returning to full face-to-face classes, Orsini said they are looking forward to transitioning before the fall, which is in early August. As for now, they are focusing more on those who are graduating.

Last year, both PSS and the Northern Marianas College transitioned to virtual graduations, followed by a drive-thru diploma distribution.

Justine Nauta | Correspondent
Justine Nauta is Saipan Tribune's community and health reporter and has covered a wide range of news beats, including the Northern Marianas College and Commonwealth Health Care Corp. She's currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services at NMC.
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