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DOE outlines in-person commencement guidelines for 2022 graduating class

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The Hawai‘i State Department of Education released guidelines today to allow for in-person school commencement and transition ceremonies.

Department officials say the guidelines protect the health and safety of students, staff and families.

“Graduations are such a special milestone for our students and families, especially in Hawaiʻi, and I know it has been difficult having modified ceremonies for the past two years,” Interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi said. “We look forward to providing our graduates with the ceremonies that they so deeply deserve while still maintaining the health and safety of our students and staff as a top priority.”

In addition to standard school health and safety protocols and county social gathering regulations, commencement events must adhere to guidelines that include the following:

  • Student participation is voluntary. Schools may consider providing a virtual option for persons who do not wish to attend an in-person event and to help promote smaller crowd sizes.
  • Ceremonies must be held outdoors or in a venue with adequate ventilation or fans/filtration systems. Third-party venues that comply with county social gathering rules are allowed.
  • All participants must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours prior to the ceremony.
  • Graduates will be allowed to bring a pre-set number of household members as guests. The amount of guests will be determined by each school based on capacity. No additional guests will be allowed.
  • Masks must be worn at all times.

School graduation and transition ceremonies are still in the planning stages. Dates and other details will be announced in April. The guidance is subject to change if there are any developments that would compromise the health or safety of students and staff.  

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“This guidance aims to provide flexibility for schools in safely bringing together graduates and families for this momentous occasion as we continue to monitor COVID-19 conditions,” Hayashi said in a department press release. “Planning for ceremonies must balance the desire to honor graduates while ensuring that our schools do not create an added risk to exposure and spread of the virus.”

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The full list of guidelines can be viewed here.

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