Norwalk high schools choose in-person, outdoor graduations

Photo of Abigail Brone
High School Seniors from Norwalk and Brien McMahon schools, who successfully completed their graduation requirements after attending summer classes, receive their high school diplomas during a Summer Graduation Ceremony at the Brien McMahon Center for Global Studies community room on Aug. 8, 2019 in Norwalk, Connecticut.

High School Seniors from Norwalk and Brien McMahon schools, who successfully completed their graduation requirements after attending summer classes, receive their high school diplomas during a Summer Graduation Ceremony at the Brien McMahon Center for Global Studies community room on Aug. 8, 2019 in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Matthew Brown / Hearst Connecticut Media

NORWALK — Following last year’s modified graduation ceremonies at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Norwalk Public Schools will proceed with in-person graduations, held outdoors, for city high schools.

Outdoor graduation and promotion ceremonies will be held for the district’s high schools and middle schools, respectively, NPS spokesperson Brenda Wilcox Williams said.

Students are allowed to bring two guests and everyone present will be required to wear masks.

“Because of the large numbers of students we graduate, we don’t have the ability to have a tent large enough readily available in the case of bad weather,” Wilcox Williams said. “Unless the forecast calls for severe weather, we expect to move forward rain or shine.”

To maintain social distancing, the high school graduations were split into two groups, running back-to-back, she added.

Norwalk High School and P-TECH graduations will take place June 17, with the first ceremony at 5 p.m. and second group at 7:30 p.m. The Norwalk High School graduation rain date is June 19, according to the district statement.

Brien McMahon High School’s graduation will take place June 18 at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., according to the statement, with a rain date also of June 19.

The city’s magnet high school, the Center for Global Studies, will have a graduation ceremony on June 11 at 6 p.m.

District middle schools will celebrate promotion ceremonies on June 16, with Nathan Hale and Roton ceremonies taking place at 5 p.m. and West Rocks and Ponus Ridge graduations at 7:30 p.m.

Typically, post-graduation events and celebrations are organized by the graduates’ parents and held indoors.

“That won’t be possible this year, so parent groups have been working on alternate plans such as outdoor picnics,” Wilcox Williams said. “We have connected them with the Health Department and our medical adviser to brief them on health protocols.”

The Board of Education and city officials reserved the right to cancel graduation ceremonies or events if the city sees a spike in COVID-19 cases leading up to graduation.

abigail.brone@hearstmediact.com