fhs graduationi

Farmington High School students hope to have an outdoor graduation this year at 7 p.m. Friday, June 4. If the weather is bad at that time, there are two backup times Saturday, June 5. 

Those associated with the Farmington High School class of 2021 are hoping for sunny weather for a few hours before and after 7 p.m. Friday, June 4.

That’s when the school is expected to have a graduation ceremony unlike any other in its history.

“I think it’s just going to be a wonderful celebration for the class of 2021 who have been through a lot,” Principal Dan Pickens said during the April 26 School Board meeting.

Graduates and their families and friends will be spread out a little more than usual due to COVID-19 guidance, but they should be able to all be together one last time at Tiger Stadium.

That is the school’s goal, and now it only needs the weather to cooperate.

“It would have to be pretty bad for us to not have it outside,” Pickens said, referring to if it had rained earlier in the day before the ceremony.

He was not hinting that the event would be held if it’s drizzling out or in a blowing squall. There is a backup plan if that were to happen.

The event would be held at either 11 a.m. or 6 p.m. outside at Tiger Stadium on Saturday, June 5.

If those two times fail for an outdoor ceremony, the event would be moved indoors to the Farmington High School gymnasium.

“We hope for good weather especially this year with what is at stake,” Pickens said.

What’s at stake is the ability to have an outdoor ceremony with four tickets provided to each graduate or an indoor ceremony with only the graduates and staff members able to be in the gymnasium.

In typical years there is only one time slated for graduation, and it’s either held outdoors or indoors.

Pickens said that didn’t sit well with him, so the school opted for the two Saturday outdoor backup times.

“One of the priorities we heard from the students a lot is that they wanted to be together,” Pickens said. “We wanted to make sure we can host an in-person graduation ceremony with spectators.”

Chris Bussmann, director of secondary learning, said the district is using the venue calculator from the Minnesota Department of Health using COVID-19 guidelines to determine its attendance number.

They are going to change the location of the stage in order to better utilize both sets of bleachers and some space on the north end of the stadium for additional spectators. Students will be seated three feet apart and families will be asked to stay in their family pods during the ceremony.

The event will also be livestreamed so people can watch it at home in Farmington or across the world.

Updates will be provided on the district’s website and through other family communication outlets.

Tad Johnson can be reached at tad.johnson@apgecm.com.

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