District Headlines & Features
Hello Todd Beamer High School Families,
It has been a privilege to plan and coordinate our Graduation and Celebrations for the Senior Class of 2020. We loved seeing them over the last two days, while maintaining our state’s social distance policy in order to keep everyone as safe as possible. I have no doubt the best is yet to come for them. The graduation walk was recorded and will be a part of the virtual graduation ceremony scheduled to air June 13 on Channel 21, including multiple Federal Way Public Schools websites and social media platforms.
Still, I have received a few questions wondering why we cannot gather seniors together for a more traditional graduation ceremony. While we wish this were possible, we deeply regret the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on this graduating class. We do not make the decisions about how these ceremonies take place. We are required to take our guidance from the Department of Health and the Governor’s phased plan for reopening.
- As you may know, we are currently in Phase 1 of the Governor’s Stay at Home Order. We do not know when Phase 2 will start—but even if Phase 2 starts in June, only gatherings of 5 or fewer will be allowed. Under these requirements, we would be violating these safety orders if we were to gather large groupings like a larger in-person graduation ceremony
- The Department of Health provided the following guidelines for graduations using a drive through model:
“Drive-through--Students, and only their immediate family members who are staying at home together, should arrive in waves and leave after their individual recognition. Students must remain in the car and should be in the passenger seat. The school may arrange to call the students name over an outdoor audio system and/or have a photo taken of students as they go by. These events will require scheduling, traffic control, school safety personnel, etc. and may be appropriate for small- to medium-sized graduating classes in less trafficked areas.”
Under this guidance, students would not be allowed to get out of the car. With specific and special permission from OSPI, we stretched this rule in order to allow only the senior to exit the car during the graduation walk.
We will continue to follow the requirements that are mandated by the State of Washington and Deparment of Health. I thank you for understanding our limitations and for acknowledging the labor of love we are extending to our scholars. For while we are still in the middle of a very serious health crisis in which thousands of loved ones have died and many are at risk for serious health complications—as a district and school we believe we can still provide experiences that will last a lifetime. With your help, we can do this. For at the end of the day, we want them to return more resilient, more confident, and unafraid to tackle the obstacles that come before them.
Anali Weatherhead, TBHS proud principal