PSS looks into drive-thru graduation


The Public School System is looking at possible ways to promote graduating seniors without violating the current social distancing directive and one of the plans being discussed is a drive-thru graduation.

According to Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada, the PSS administration has been in discussion about how they can provide a graduation for the Class of 2020 despite the current challenges wrought by COVID-19.

“We do have plans on how we can be creative in doing a graduation with the COVID-19 directive. I know it’s challenging but I think it’s going to be fun,” he said.

Ada said because the drive-thru method has proven successful in the past, with the Child Nutrition Program meal distribution as an example, PSS administration is looking at drive-thru diploma distributions.

“We’re really big on drive-thru. Because of social distancing, we may have a drive-thru diploma distribution,” Ada said.

Although the drive-thru diploma distribution is still on the planning stages, Ada said there is still a possibility that seniors will have their graduation, even if it might be later in the year, around August or October.

“We’re trying to come up with something to have some kind of graduation ceremony. We might postpone graduation until it’s safe. If by June it’s still not safe, then we might have a ceremony in August or October. We’re speculating right now because every day with COVID-19 is different and we need to shift each time,” he said.

Right now, for safety purposes, graduations remain cancelled.

According to Saipan Tribune archives, Ada doesn’t want to keep anyone’s hopes up and, although he doesn’t want to cancel the graduations, it’s become absolutely necessary for the safety of the students, PSS staff, and the entire community.

“At this point, we are canceling all graduations for now until further notice. If something else comes up, like an idea, we will explore that. I don’t want to give any false hopes and say, ‘We might still have graduation,’” he said.

A university in Japan made waves last month after it cancelled its graduation ceremony, due to social distancing measures brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the university deployed robots, with iPads as faces, standing in for the students and collecting diplomas on their behalf.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at

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