Dr. Strang encourages schools to steal LRHS grad celebration model

The outside of the brick building of Liverpool Regional High School on a sunny day
Liverpool Regional High School. Photo by Ed Halverson.
Ed Halverson - QCCR - LiverpoolNS | 11-06-2021

A local group is working to recognize Liverpool Regional High School (LRHS) graduates.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, large gatherings are prohibited across Nova Scotia, including graduation ceremonies.

Deborah Raddall is one of a group of volunteers who are working to find a way to allow graduates to gather together without breaking the public health orders.

“We thought, we have to do this so that, in the end we can say we did whatever we could to try and give our kids something,” said Raddall.

Schools have adjusted to allow students to receive their diplomas and awards at individually scheduled times.

The students can be accompanied by up to four guests for the ten-minute ceremony.

Raddall and her group are proposing to follow in the steps of last year’s graduating class and hold a drive-by graduation celebration.

She says using Queens Place Emera Centre again would allow the students to set up six feet apart while the community drives by and shows their support.

Raddall says a letter submitted to public health through the department’s website outlining their plan was met with a form-letter type rejection.

But Friday morning, Raddall awoke to an e-mail from Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang.

Dr Robert Strang

Dr Robert Strang discusses what safe graduation celebrations could look like in the second phase of COVID reopening. Photo Nova Scotia Government

In it, he says under the current restrictions the gathering is not permitted.

But once the province moves into Phase II of the COVID-19 reopening plan, which could be as soon as Wednesday, June 16, the ceremony can go ahead.

In fact, during Friday’s COVID-19 briefing, Dr. Strang pointed to the LRHS drive-by model as one other schools should consider.

“Communities will need to be creative and innovative again in celebrating their graduates. One example I’ve heard is a drive-past celebration. Graduates can be sitting outside, properly distanced, while family and community members in their vehicles drive-by to honour the graduate’s accomplishments. It’s a great idea and I’m sure the people who thought of it would be happy if you stole their idea,” said Strang.

Raddall is excited the drive-by idea has received the blessing of Nova Scotia’s top doctor.

She’s optimistic provincial officials will announce phase II of the recovery will begin Wednesday and their group can go ahead with their plans but regardless, they’re determined to provide some ceremony for the LRHS class of 2021.

“Really where we’re at is, we just have to move on and say, ok, if that doesn’t work, let’s go to Plan B,” said Raddall. “There’s 26 letters in the alphabet and we’re not the give-y up kind of people.”

Reported by Ed Halverson 
E-mail: edhalversonnews@gmail.com
Twitter: @edwardhalverson

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