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IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON CHANGES TO YEAR END CELEBRATIONS AND GRADUATION

June 17, 2021

Dear Oswego City School District Parents and Guardians,

I am writing to share that throughout yesterday the district learned of new guidance from the Governor and the NYS Department of Health. Specifically, this new guidance was issued for end of year academic celebration and graduations.
The new guidance now asserts the following:
 
  1.  School districts can now host outdoor ceremonies at 100% of their venue capacity. For example, our new stadium can hold nearly 1,500 people per event. We can now hold events (i.e. our upcoming graduation ceremony) at that amount.  
  2. All COVID-19 restrictions have now been officially lifted for all fully vaccinated attendees of end of year celebrations and/or graduations. Accordingly, districts are no longer required to enforce social distancing, screening protocols, mitigating strategies, cleaning protocols, masking or require proof of vaccination for any outdoor year-end celebrations and graduations for any vaccinated persons. These former requirements are now optional for outdoor events. 
 
These changes are now being put into place because, 70% of New Yorkers aged 18 and older have received their first dose of their COVID-19 vaccination series. However, there is an exception that continues to apply to all end of academic year celebrations and graduations that are held outdoors.  It is as follows:
 
  • Masks are still required for unvaccinated individuals -- pursuant to federal CDC guidelines.
 
Given this new guidance all parents and guardians should know, effective immediately the district will be following through with this new guidance. Accordingly, we will not be enforcing social distancing, screening protocols, mitigating strategies, cleaning protocols, masking or require proof of vaccination for any outdoor year-end celebrations and graduations for any vaccinated persons. However, any person who attends outdoor year-end celebrations and/or graduation ceremonies who is not vaccinated will continue to be required to mask.
 
Please know, this guidance is only for outdoor events. Masking will continue to be required for all students and visitors while indoors at all schools until the end of the school year.
 
Aside from this, parents and guardians should know that given the new guidance the district, after consultation with and surveying of our senior class and staff, has also decided that we will be hosting one large graduation ceremony instead of two separate events on Saturday, June 26, 2021 at 10 a.m. This change to our ceremony allows for a desire that many of our seniors have shared with district administration earlier today: the ability to have our Class of 2021 graduate in-person, together instead of being separated as a class. 
 
To add to this, parents and guardians should also know that given the lifting of restrictions from the Governor, we are going to allow for full capacity during this graduation (1,500 attendees and spectators). Accordingly, each student will be allowed to bring up to five guests to attend the ceremony. It should also be noted, this ceremony will be livestreamed through our WBUC YouTube channel for those not in attendance.
 
If the weather is not cooperative next Saturday, we will plan to hold our ceremony on the rain date of Sunday, June 27 at 10 a.m.
 
Should any parent and/or guardian have any questions or concerns about this new updated information, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s principal directly. Thank you for your time and consideration of this new information.
 
Yours in Education,
 
Dr. Mathis Calvin III
Superintendent of Schools
 
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