NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – Many graduation ceremonies are moving online, but one commencement in Norman took place Saturday with the city manager’s blessing.
It was a packed house on the floor of the school’s activity center.
After getting the city manager’s approval, the school gave each of the 60 graduates about 12 tickets, bringing them to about 600 people inside.
Assistant principal Matt Cox said the activity Center holds about 2,500.
“We just felt like we really did our part to follow all the guidelines,” Cox said. “We had permission from anybody and everybody that we needed so we had the graduation.”
About 300 of the seats were on the floor, which is where people were packed shoulder to shoulder.
“People wore masks but not everybody was required to wear masks, obviously but people did wear masks,” Cox said.
Social distancing is still something encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health department. Cox claims it wasn’t something that was out of control.
“We told them that we had available seating there, we pointed to other directions, did not force anybody to sit anywhere that they didn’t want to sit,” Cox said. “We told anybody that was fearful or felt that they needed to take extra precautions to obviously do what they needed to do.”
Getting the approval was one of the reasons they decided to do it according to Cox. Also, the rollout of phase two of the states reopening played a factor.
“Churches are allowed to be open and we definitely shared the gospel,” he said. “It was a church service type event as well too another reason why we were definitely within the guidelines.”
The town of Norman’s “Healthier at Home Initiative” is still urging people to stay in groups of less than 10 at the moment, as they sit in “Phase 1B”. The state’s health department also encourages “distance between yourself and others”. According to Cox, they did all they needed to do to have the graduation.
“You can’t do any more than get the permission you can get,” he said.
In the state and country, there have been parades and other events to celebrate seniors. However, that wasn’t going to be the plan for Community Christian School.
“Not really,” Cox said. “We constantly kicked around where and how and when we saw things were going to start to be opening back up and we hit that phase two area when we were supposed to have graduation anyway, it was time.”
Cox added that the event was not mandatory. Two seniors decided to skip the graduation.