Owensville High School (OHS) Principal Kris Altemeyer announced Thursday afternoon in a letter sent to parents, students, staff and community members that while OHS graduation will continue as planned on June 28, academic awards are rescheduled to be part of the graduation ceremony and prom is canceled.
“I am pleased to announce that the 2020 Owensville High School graduation ceremony will be held as planned on Sunday, June 28 at 6 p.m. at Dutchmen Field,” Altmeyer said, before adding that a separate academic awards ceremony will not be held. “Academic awards will be integrated into the graduation ceremony — we will not be holding a separate academic awards ceremony this year. In addition, based on existing health recommendations and six-foot social distancing guidelines, the 2020 OHS prom has been canceled.”
Altemeyer says in the letter that it was a difficult decision to cancel the event, but from a logistical standpoint, plans must be put in place weeks ahead of time for prom, and with the information and guidelines currently available, it wasn’t possible to safely host the event.
The Gasconade County R-2 Board of Education discussed the possibility of limiting the number of family members per student during the 2020 graduation ceremony at the May 18 board meeting. They decided to wait until June to see if restrictions would ease.
Altemeyer said in the letter that a restriction will be in effect, though it will not be tracked.
“Tickets will not be issued for the ceremony, however, we ask that guests be limited to no more than eight per family to allow for proper social distancing,” he wrote.
Other restrictions in place will include:
Guests are encouraged to bring their own chairs to set up on the field and surrounding areas. Members of the same family will be allowed to sit together. Guests are asked to keep at least six feet apart from other non-family guests while seated and at all other times while on campus.
The stadium bleachers will be available for seating, however, every other row will be blocked off to ensure proper social distancing.
All gates surrounding Dutchmen Field will open at 4 p.m. on the day of the ceremony. We ask that you enter the gate closest to where you park to prevent crowding at any single gate.
With the exception of the graduates, district staff, and handicapped seating, there will be no reserved seating for the ceremony. No one will be allowed to set chairs or reserve bleacher seats before the gates open.
The stadium restrooms will be open, and custodial staff will be on hand to frequently clean and disinfect these areas.
Only graduates will be allowed to enter the high school building. Parents, family members, and other guests will not be allowed in the building at any time.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, all guests should leave campus in a timely manner. We ask that post-graduation pictures and congregating be done off-campus to help ensure the safety of all guests at the ceremony.
In the event of inclement weather on June 28th, the graduation ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 29.
Previously the district had decided graduation would be held on June 28 with a rain date of June 29 or July 25 with a rain date of July 26. During that discussion, they also decided prom would take place the weekend before and the academic awards would be held the Thursday prior to the graduation date.