Weekly roundup: Graduations in the age of COVID, reopening considerations, and more

Commencement ceremonies in the age of COVID-19 won’t soon be forgotten.

That much was made clear by this week’s news coverage in the Orange County Register and Daily Pilot.

Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified was among the districts that held drive-thru celebrations this week. The Register shared galleries of photos from Valencia High, and Yorba Linda High, where seniors posed for pictures with their newly minted diplomas as family and friends snapped photos from car windows and the beds of pickup trucks.

Graduate in cap and gown
Brea Olinda High staged a drive-through ceremony over three days last week.

Over at Laguna Beach High School, seniors participated in a unique drive-thru commencement ceremony that allowed them to take a social-distanced walk in the campus stadium as their families celebrated.

With teachers and administrators cheering them on, graduates of Mission Viejo High School in Saddleback Valley Unified hung out of car windows and waved from open sunroofs during their drive-thru graduation on Thursday.

Seniors at Laguna Hills High School donned their caps and gowns and cruised through the campus parking lot as staff members gave them a celebratory sendoff.

Graduates in Orange took a victory lap around the iconic Orange Plaza traffic circle on Saturday to mark the end of their high school days.

In Irvine, Will Ferrell is probably the most famous student ever to have attended University High School. The comic and actor recently delivered this message to his fellow Trojans in the class of 2020.

Meanwhile, the Daily Pilot has been honoring graduating seniors and documenting pandemic commencements from high schools in Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley and Laguna Beach.

And here are some other school-related stories from the week ending June 12:

  • The California Department of Education unveiled its highly anticipated guidance for reopening school campuses this week, calling for face coverings, physical distancing and regular symptom screenings for students and staff.
  • How realistic is social distancing? Can students be asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19? How might teachers be affected, especially those who are older or have underlying health conditions? Those are some of the underlying questions school districts must answer before reopening, EdSource reports.
  • The bell tolled one last time for the iconic Pilgrim in Dana Point Harbor. The beloved tall ship, which has served as a floating STEM classroom and history lesson for students and visitors since the 1980s, sank back in March and could not be repaired.
  • Santa Ana Unified’s school board adopted a resolution this week that requires students to complete a one-year ethnic studies course before receiving their diploma. The mandate starts in 2022-23 with incoming high schoolers, according to the Voice of OC.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.