The Ketchikan High School class of 2021 will graduate on May 30, and, as of Tuesday, school administrators and local health officials are still working to decide what format the graduation ceremony will take.
The venue of Kayhi's graduation — whether in-person or virtual — will be dependent on Ketchikan's virus situation later this month.
Ketchikan High School Principal Jason House told the Daily News on Monday that school administrators would aim to make the decision about how to hold the event by May 26, taking into account the community's COVID-19 situation at that time.
House outlined three scenarios for how graduation would be held, which would be based on the community risk level and the status of the Ketchikan School District's Smart Start plan.
"We'll make a determination that factors in both of those risk levels," House said, adding that those decisions will be made in conjunction with local health officials, district nurses and the Ketchikan Emergency Operations Center.
According to House, the ideal graduation ceremony format would be an in-person event with a limited crowd of spectators.
"The lowest risk level scenario — the best that we could hope for — would be a full ceremony, all the graduates present, and two tickets per student," House said. "And then we would have kind of a select small band. ... So it would look substantially like traditional graduation ceremonies that we've done, just with a smaller crowd."
If local health officials and school administrators decide that there is a medium level of risk by the time of the ceremony, the ceremony still would be held as an in-person event.
"We would hold, still, that sort of full ceremony, with all of the students present, but we would not allow spectators," House explained. "And so the kids are all there, they're able to celebrate with each other, (and) we'd be able to have the speakers and do the processional ... but to keep crowd sizes down we wouldn't have any spectators for that."
Whether the event takes place virutally or in-person, a livestream of the ceremony will be made available.
And at a high level of risk, the graduation of Kayhi's class of 2021 would be almost identical to how the virtual graduation was held this past year, according to House.
In 2020, small groups of graduating students came to the school over time and were filmed individually walking across the stage with their diplomas. The various speeches and other elements were recorded separately, also.
In the case of a high risk scenario, the 2021 Kayhi graduates would be filmed in the same manner.
"And then (that would be edited) together into a video that will be shown later," House noted.
House emphasized that decisions about how to hold graduation "don't happen in a vacuum."
Working with the local Emergency Operations Center, House said that district nurses and school administrators are trying to decide, “What’s the optimum scenario that we can run, and what can we do to preserve the spirit and intent of these events?”