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Guidance for Graduation Ceremonies during the COVID-19 Pandemic outlines graduation models. It leaves decisions to school boards and superintendents to ensure safety and physical distancing. Ceremonies must align with the Governor's Safe Start Plan. In King County, an additional model meets Safe Start guidelines: www.kingcounty.gov/Safe-Start


Drive-through with individual graduate ceremonies

Students and their household members may arrive in waves. They would leave after a brief, individual ceremony and photo opportunity. This model requires detailed advanced planning and scheduling. This is especially the case for large classes.

Schools should plan to prevent large gatherings and to keep physical distancing. Plan and communicate with families to reduce traffic and gatherings. Consider additional traffic control measures and safety staffing during these events.

  • Strive to host inclusive events for guests who cannot attend in person. Provide alternatives for people with mobility barriers and those who cannot drive. This could include virtual and online options to watch and participate. The individual ceremony should be outdoors in a well-ventilated area.

  • Have no more than five people at each ceremony. This includes the graduate and their household members, school staff, and photographers/videographers. People who do not share a household must stay at least six feet apart.

  • There should be no person-to-person contact. Staff may not hand out diplomas nor any other items. Do not shake hands. Consider distributing caps, gowns, and diplomas in advance.

Guidance for ceremonies in all phases of Safe Start

Note these statewide guidelines for all school ceremonies:

  • People at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should stay home. Consider recording or livestreaming ceremonies.
  • People who have COVID-19 or been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 must stay home. They should self-isolate or quarantine.
  • People must stay home if they feel sick.