R-6 cancels prom, moves forward with June 11 graduation plans
SIKESTON — Sikeston R-6 officials have decided to cancel prom but will continue to move forward with plans for graduation next month.
The announcement was made by Sikeston High School Head Principal Doyle Noe and Sikeston R-6 Superintendent Dr. Tony Robinson via a video posted Wednesday on social media. A letter by Noe was also posted on the district’s official Facebook page.
“I want to thank you for your patience and flexibility as we have dealt with the impact of this pandemic on our schools, our students and our community,” Robinson said in the video. “One thing we have tried to do is provide some experiences, take care of our students and families by feeding them, by educating them as best possible with the resource we have, and we appreciate your support throughout all of that.
He continued: “So one thing we are excited to share today is we will be able to provide a graduation ceremony for our seniors. We know our students and our seniors have endured a lot, and this is just a great milestone that we will be able to provide to our seniors and to our families in our community.”
Robinson then turned it over to Noe, who detailed the announcement.
“We have been in close communication with local and county health officials and have continued to monitor state guidelines and recommendations,” Noe said. “We have had multiple conversations with local officials regarding our ability to host a prom-type event for our seniors while ensuring the health and safety of all involved.
He continued: “Based on all of this information, unfortunately, we do not have the ability to host this event safely and, therefore, must cancel prom for the year.”
Prom will not be re-scheduled, the principal said.
“This is not a decision that was made in haste and a conclusion I did not want to come to,” Noe said. “However, I feel that this decision is necessary, and I would be acting irresponsibly to move forward with this event given our current climate and an uncertain future.”
Plans to host a June 11 graduation, which was originally scheduled for May 7, will continue to move forward.
“When I released a statement on April 14 postponing graduation from May 7 to June 11, it was my hope and intention to provide a formal-type ceremony for as many graduates as possible and their immediate families,” Noe said. “Today, I am pleased to announce that we will be able to do just that with some restrictions in place. Once again, we have been in close communication with local and county health officials and have continued to monitor state guidelines and recommendations.”
The outdoor ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. at Sikeston Public Schools Stadium with limitations and social distancing guidelines in place.
“Traditionally, the stage has been positioned to face the home and reserved seating. To host this event in our current climate, we will flip the stage and place it in the north end zone with the video scoreboard behind it. This will allow us to open up both sides of the stadium for seating,” Noe said.
In order to host graduation in this format, we must limit the amount of tickets to five per graduate.
“Those five family members are asked to stay as a group and social distance from others in attendance during the ceremony. We will have sections taped off throughout all of the seating in the stadium to allow everyone to have a section for seating which meets the requirements of social distancing set forth by health guidelines,” he said.
Anyone wanting to attend graduation must have a ticket to enter, and this includes staff members of the Sikeston R-6 School District, Noe said.
To adhere to social distancing guidelines, graduates will march into the stadium in one single-file line. Half of the class will march down the west side of the track, and the other half down the east side of the track before taking their seats located on the field spaced out to meet social distancing guidelines, the principal said, adding the school will share information with families about the location their graduate will march.
“Following the ceremony, graduates will march out of the stadium single file and will be released to the practice field between the stadium and the Field House. We ask families to meet their students at this location if they desire pictures and please social distance from others,” Noe said.
The District will also offer alternative ways for families and friends to watch the ceremony. Graduation will be streamed through Facebook live on the District’s Facebook account, and will also be available through the District’s YouTube channel. The ceremony will also be streamed on the large video scoreboard behind the stage to accommodate patrons based on the restrictions social distancing places on the eating arrangement, Noe said.
In the event of inclement weather, the plan will be to move graduation inside the Field House and conduct the event on the same date. If that decision has to be made, it will be done no later than the afternoon of June 9 based on the weather forecast in order for families to plan and the set-up for the event to occur, Noe said.
Should the District have to move the ceremony indoors, it will conduct two identical graduation ceremonies and adhere to guidelines and restrictions from health officials, Noe said.
The first ceremony will occur at 5 p.m. and will be for graduates with last names ending in letters A-K. A second ceremony will occur at 7:30 p.m. and will be for graduates with last names ending in L-Z. Tickets will be limited to four per graduate in order for us to meet guidelines and recommendations in place for us to host this event.
Sections will be taped off throughout the Field House to allow everyone to have a section for seating which meets the requirements of social distancing set forth by health guidelines. The Field House will be cleared between ceremonies and the custodial staff will sanitize the facility, he said.
Tickets will be given to the graduates at the conclusion of their graduation practice at 9 a.m. June 11.
“While it is not ideal that we must limit tickets for our graduation, we are extremely fortunate to be able to provide a formal graduation for our Seniors and their immediate families,” Noe said. “We are also fortunate to be able to broadcast this event on various platforms to allow extended family the opportunity to see their graduate receive their diploma.”