Suwannee County Schools

LIVE OAK — With the State of Florida entering a full Phase 1 of its re-opening, there will be increased capacity allowed at next week’s graduation events in Suwannee County.

With venues allowed to reach just 25% capacity under the state’s original plan to re-open, Branford High and Suwannee High graduates were going to be allotted just four tickets for loved ones to attend each, graduation and baccalaureate. Branford High’s graduation is set for May 29 with baccalaureate set for May 28, both at Buccaneer Stadium. Suwannee High is holding baccalaureate May 27 with graduation May 30, both at Langford Stadium. All the events are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. with live broadcasts of the ceremonies available online through Youtube and possibly Facebook.

However, with Gov. Ron DeSantis increasing that capacity load to 50% during a press conference Friday, Superintendent Ted Roush and school district officials are following suit. Now, graduates will receive eight arm bands for each event.

“We told folks initially that as additional information came we would re-evaluate what we were allowed to do to accommodate that,” Roush said. “Some folks have been very patient and we appreciate that.”

Despite the increased attendance possible, Roush said social distancing guidelines still must be followed by both graduates and spectators.

During the ceremonies, all graduates will be spaced properly on the field to obey social distancing guidelines of at least six feet separation. Spectators will need to follow similar practices in the stadiums and follow markings on and around the stadium, the district said.

Also, no groups will be allowed to assemble before, during or after the events on school district property.

“We’re going to still, obviously, encourage vulnerable populations and those over 65 to watch it virtually,” Roush added.

Anyone not in possession of an arm band for that specific event will be denied entry.

Any seniors not needing all of their arm bands may give extras to fellow classmates.

For both baccalaureate and graduation ceremonies, only authorized personnel and participants will be allowed on the fields before, during and following the ceremonies.

For more information, contact Branford High School or Suwannee High School.

Jamie Wachter is the editor of the Suwannee Democrat, Jasper News and Mayo Free Press.

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