State details guidance for permitted graduation ceremonies beginning in May

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says all event organizers must follow the state's strict health and safety protocols, including required face masks, social distancing, health screenings and collection contact tracing information.

News 12 Staff

Apr 13, 2021, 10:52 AM

Updated 1,186 days ago

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Pomp and circumstance are back on for tens of thousands of students across Long Island.
New York will allow graduation ceremonies starting May 1 with restrictions depending on venue size and location.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo says all event organizers must follow the state's strict health and safety protocols, including required face masks, social distancing, health screenings and collection of contact tracing information.
According to the state, outdoor ceremonies of over 500 students will be limited to 20% capacity for family attendees. Graduations of 201 to 500 people will be limited to 33%. Events for 200 people or fewer will be limited to 50%
Indoor ceremonies for over 150 students will be capped at just 10%, from 101-150 the limit is 33%, and 100 and lower is 50%.
Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test is required for large and medium events.
"It's not going to be like the traditional graduation ceremony where there are thousands of people there, but we're hoping that we could get all of our seniors together to send them off," says Valley Stream Central High School District Superintendent Bill Heidenreich.
Senior proms will be allowed to return as well, but Heidenreich says that will look quite different as well.
"I think it's a rite of passage that our students and families look forward to and we want to deliver as close to a normal experience as possible," he says.
Colleges are included in the new graduation guidelines too. Molloy College is planning to have a drive-in ceremony in the parking lot of its campus as the ceremony is streamed on big screens. Stony Brook University will hold 10 different outdoor ceremonies in May.
GUIDELINES FOR GRADUATION CEREMONIES:
Outdoor Events:
• Large-scale ceremonies of over 500 people at outdoor venues will be limited to 20 percent of capacity, applicable to venues with a total capacity of 2,500 or more.
• Medium-scale ceremonies of 201-500 people at outdoor venues will be limited to 33 percent of capacity.
• Small-scale ceremonies of up to 200 people or 2 attendees per student at outdoor venues will be limited to 50 percent of capacity. Proof of recent negative test result or proof of completed immunization is optional.
Indoor Events:
• Large-scale ceremonies of over 150 people at indoor venues will be limited to 10 percent of capacity, applicable to venues with a total capacity of 1,500 or more.
• Medium-scale ceremonies of 101-150 people at indoor venues will be limited to 33 percent of capacity.
• Small-scale ceremonies of up to 100 people or 2 attendees per student at indoor venues will be limited to 50 percent of capacity. Proof of recent negative test result or proof of completed immunization is optional.
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