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Area schools plan their graduation ceremonies for August

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HARTINGTON — Local school administrators have set Aug. 1 and 2 for graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020.

Hartington-Newcastle Public School plans to hold graduation exercises at 1 p.m. Saturday Aug. 1.

Cedar Catholic has scheduled its commencement exercises for 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 2. 

HNS Supt. A.J. Johnson said the School Board and administration felt it was important to schedule a graduation ceremony. 

“Many of our students have lost important experiences because of COVID-19. One experience we don’t want our seniors to lose is graduation,” Johnson said. 

Johnson said the early August dates were picked on the advice of state education experts. 

“We know Aug. 1 seems like such a late date, but the education commissioner and the governor are both recommending that schools that would like to hold an in-person ceremony schedule that ceremony in late summer,” he said. 

Nothing is set in stone, however, Johnson said, adding that the school continues to follow guidance from state and local public health departments.

“Should we need to limit the capacity of the ceremony or should conditions warrant an alternative ceremony, we will let you know,” he said in a letter to students and parents. “We will do something that day for a graduation ceremony, even if it can’t be the traditional ceremony.”

Johnson said if conditions were to dramatically improve soon, and if all restrictions were removed by June 1, then the school would consider moving the date up. This would only happen, he said, after first contacting students and parents to make sure they would be able to attend another date.