Volusia County students prepare for graduation during the COVID-19 pandemic

Graduations to include social distancing, spacing between guests

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Parents and students are gearing up for graduation this week with dress rehearsals. New Smyrna Beach High School had its graduation rehearsal Tuesday afternoon.

“I’m happy they were able to go through with the graduation ceremony,” said parent Debbie Finegan.

News 6 was not allowed inside while students practiced but 18-year-old Chelsea Lewis shared her thoughts about this year's graduation.

"I'm happy that we're having one but it's just not the same as a regular graduation. I mean it doesn't feel the same. We're not going to be shaking anyone's hands, we're going to be social distanced. It's not the same," said Lewis.

Dr. Gabriel Berrio, Assistant Superintendent for High Schools said the school district has been working with the Ocean Center since March on how to have a socially distant and safe graduation ceremony.

“We wanted to give our graduating students the most special graduation we can give them under these circumstances,” said Berrio.

The protocols include spacing students and their two guests in the arena, blocking certain sections of seats and marks on the ground for students to space out as they wait to walk across the graduation stage.

“We know that these are unprecedented times, so we want to thank you for your patience and for your support. Also, we do appreciate your questions and concerns that you’ve had, that we’ve taken those concerns and questions and implemented them into our plan to make sure everyone’s concerns were listened to,” said Berrio.

The school district will also be live-streaming the graduations which start on Thursday.

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