East Kern Schools Class of 2020 Graduation Ceremonies
Desert/Mojave/Boron/California City/Rosamond possible summer graduations
Story by – Patti Orr
EAST KERN – The Coronavirus pandemic which hit the state of California earlier this year displaced thousands of students, teachers and school staff members throughout the state, leaving only essential school district employees to maintain schools; Mojave Unified, Southern Kern Unified and Muroc Joint Unified School Districts suffered the same fate as well. As a result, spring sports, events and ceremonies have been postponed, moved to later dates or canceled all together and East Kern County schools are no exception.
During a quick phone interview with Boron Jr. Sr. High School principal David Wiggs on May 14th, we asked him how the school is coping during the pandemic and the fate of the fall sports season, graduation and school re-opening; here’s what he had to say, “The students, teachers and faculty have been really helpful during this time, considering no one has ever been through something like this before. Our teachers are continuing to educate our students by putting together packets for each student to pick up and drop off at the multipurpose room each week and the students, even though they wish they could return to school, have been very good at keeping up with their studies; right now, it’s up in the air as far as when and how our district will be re-opening the schools; we’re waiting for word from the Kern County Superintendent of Schools and they in turn are waiting on word from the state schools superintendent as to when and how we’ll re-open. The California Scholastic Federation (CIF) is still in limbo as far as fall sports goes; they as well as the state schools superintendent are waiting to see how the pandemic will play out throughout the state during the next few months; in the meantime, we all are abiding by the state mandated “stay at home” order given by Governor Newsom. Boron Jr. Sr. High School has canceled the annual 8th Grade Promotion however, the students will be receiving their Certificate of Promotion; the annual Boron High School Class of 2020 will be holding a graduation ceremony on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 (we're still trying to work out some details such as social distancing, etc.) on the Lawrence Klein Memorial Stadium football field and will take place in the early evening hours; either 5 or 6 p.m. depending on the position of the sun; Boron High School hasn’t graduated a class on the football field since 1982 (which was the first class in the history of Boron High to graduate outside on the field); we’ll also be live streaming graduation. We hope all of our students continue to remain safe and educated during this time and continue to maintain social distancing until we can all be together again on campus”. Desert High School will be holding their Class of 2020 graduation ceremony on June 15th beginning at 5 p.m. on the Flight line at Edwards Air Force Base; the decision was announced on April 24th. The flight line is the main runway for the base where air traffic departs and returns to Edwards.
Mojave Unified School District Superintendent Aaron Haughton issued a letter dated May 14th to parents and guardians regarding graduation and promotion ceremonies stating, “the Kern County Public Health Department issued the following guidance: graduation ceremonies aren’t listed on the Federal Critical Infrastructure list and therefore should not occur, all gatherings should be postponed or canceled until further notice and plan for a pre-recorded and streamed graduation ceremony. This information in light of the current levels of COVD-19 spread has required us to postpone any plans for an in-person or drive-thru graduation or promotion ceremonies. It is our hope that, if it is safe to do so during the summer (perhaps in July) these in-person traditional celebrations could be rescheduled; likely with some modifications and safety measures in place. In the meantime, our principals and their staff are working very hard to prepare high quality virtual ceremonies that will honor our students and create a lasting keepsake for families. The school sites will release more information in the coming days with specific details. We know that the Class of 2020 has the resolve, courage and grit to overcome any obstacle including this one and we truly thank you for your patience and understanding; our thoughts are with you during this trying time”.
The Southern Kern Unified School District which covers the Rosamond area schools are looking at a possible summer graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 as well. According the Sally who is the SKUSD secretary to the superintendent, “The board will be meeting on May 20th to discuss a proposal made in which there would be 2 drive-thru ceremonies because we have approximately 180 plus seniors in the Class of 2020 and the date the ceremony will take place. The board will make a decision either way on the 20th”. Social distancing has been the issue for all the ceremonies around the county and state however the schools are working on making all ceremonies memorable for the students.
For the rest of the East Kern area students, the return to the classroom and fall sports is up in the air right now; all county and state school districts are waiting on the state superintendent and the governor on when schools and fall sports will resume. We will keep you updated as information develops.