Okeechobee High School graduation ceremony seating for parents will be complicated

OKEECHOBEE — Parents of Okeechobee High School’s Class of 2020 will have tickets to attend the OHS graduation on Saturday, but some are not going to be happy with their seats, according to the discussion at the May 28 Okeechobee County Commission meeting.

“We have a new plan for graduation, so everybody is getting two tickets,” explained Superintendent of Schools Ken Kenworthy.

“We still plan on having everybody wear a mask. There will be temperature checks going in. We’re still operating on a 6 feet social distancing among households, as opposed to each individual,” he continued.

He said parents from the same household can sit together, but the plan became more complicated when they took into consideration the number of children whose parents are divorced.

“We’re guaranteeing two tickets to every family, but we are not guaranteeing you access inside the arena,” Mr. Kenworthy said.

“We’ve made some arrangements to have people down on the floor behind the graduates — we think we can get about 135 people there. Then, unfortunately, outside in the breezeways where there are picnic tables, there will be chairs. We’re working on some sort of projection screen and/or large screen TVs to have out there. Those individuals who do end up being stuck out there will be able to walk up the handicap ramp and take a photo of their child walking across the stage before they go sit back down,” he said.

“That’s really about the best that we can do. The capacity of that facility is not what you think it is when you consider social distancing,” he said.

OHS graduation will be live via Facebook, live from the high school and also on YouTube, he said. “There is nothing wrong with staying home and having your own watch party. We encourage you that if you have health problems, that’s probably not the venue for you to be in.

“We will be recording the event. That recording will be made available to every parent or student for download free of charge,” he added.

Sandra Pearce Photography is going to do free portrait shots coming off the stage for download from her website. Black Bull Media is going to do shout-outs from the kids to their families to try to capture that moment, he explained.

“We are doing the best we can, but I can tell you this, that if you are one of the last 250 people there, you are not going to be happy with your seat,” said Mr. Kenworthy. “We are doing the best we can with the requests that have been made and the capacity that we have to live under.”

Gates open at 7 a.m.

“So we’re going to have a traffic jam at 6 a.m.,” said Commission Chairman Terry Burroughs.

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