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Darlington Commencement plans adjusted to incorporate additional safety measures

July 17th, 2020 – 2:50 PM

Darlington School – 

Darlington School’s Commencement ceremony will take place Saturday, July 25, at 8 a.m., with additional measures in place to keep our community as safe as possible. This is a private event and only the graduates and their families may attend.

“We have worked closely with Dr. Gary Voccio, health director for the Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District, to come up with a plan that we all feel will be safe as we celebrate the Class of 2020,” said Head of School Brent Bell.

The scaled-down Commencement ceremony will be more brief than in years past, including only the elements deemed most important by the graduates in a survey sent to them in April. It will include a socially distant processional, a welcome and address by the student body president, the presentation of diplomas to the graduates in attendance, the announcement of special awards (including valedictorian and salutatorian), and a socially distant recessional to the Zelle Patio. There will be no seating at the ceremony.

“Unfortunately, an event that is the magnitude and scale of previous years will not be feasible given the constraints of social distancing associated with Covid-19,” said Bell. “We are sad that many members of the Class of 2020 will not be able to join us; however, we are confident that this graduation will be special and that the memories created will last a lifetime.”

Family units have been asked to stand together and maintain social distance on the Chapel Lawn for the entirety of the ceremony. They will remain on the Chapel Lawn during the processional and may take photos with their graduate after the ceremony as long as they maintain distance from other groups.

“As we try to ensure the safest possible environment, we have had to limit attendance to immediate family members only,” said Bell. “Our students and parents have been very understanding of this. As always, we will live stream the ceremony on our website so that additional family and friends will be able to watch online.”

All in attendance will be required to wear a mask. Graduates will be given health screenings and temperature checks upon arrival. They may remove their face covering while being awarded their diploma and processing into the ceremony if they choose to do so.

“We continue to encourage everyone in our community to be mindful of their interactions between now and next Saturday,” said Bell. “Please practice safety precautions such as regular handwashing and do not come to campus if you are exhibiting any symptoms. The health and safety of our students and community is our top priority, and we thank everyone in advance for following the protocols we have put into place for this very special event.”

A second Commencement ceremony is currently still scheduled to take place during Alumni Weekend in October for those who may not be able to make it next weekend.

Anyone with logistical questions should contact Matthew Peer, director of enrollment management and former director of Upper School, at mpeer@darlingtonschool.org.