By Tony Aiello

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Flexibility is the keyword as New York school districts plan graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2021.

State guidance includes nine pages of restrictions, rules and regulations that superintendents know could change before June, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Thursday.

READ MORE: Vaccine Mandate For NYC Teachers, Department Of Education Workers Put On Hold By Federal Judge

There’s a semblance of normalcy at White Plains High School. Seventy-five percent of students are back four days a week and seniors will graduate in June, live and in-person.

“I think it’s important for our students to have this live graduation. They’ve had such a tough two years,” said Principal Emerly Martinez.

The Cuomo administration released nine pages of graduation guidance – with indoor/outdoor capacity limits and varying mandates such as proof of vaccine or a negative COVID test.

White Plains is planning an outdoor ceremony for 500 students and a thousand guests on its 70-acre campus.

“Students are gonna get tested, do some rapid tests beforehand, and we’re going to make sure folks are assigned seats in order to come in,” Martinez said.

There will be just 79 graduates at Hamilton High in Elmsford.

“They want a very traditional graduation and we’re gonna to try to deliver it,” said Elmsford Superintendent Marc Baiocco.

READ MORE: De Blasio Says City Prepared For School Staffing Shortages As COVID Vaccine Deadline Approaches

State guidelines make an indoor ceremony problematic, Baiocco said.

“An inside event would be far too complicated. It would really, basically, hamper any efforts that we would have for having any type of attendees,” he said.


So, he’s planning for an outdoor ceremony.

“It is very likely that between now and the end of June, we’ll see other iterations of what the guidance may or may not be,” White Plains Superintendent Joe Ricca said.

“Depending how the next few weeks unfold, it’s possible that any new guidance could be more restrictive?” Aiello asked.

“I’m taking the optimistic viewpoint that, with the rollout of the vaccination and the numbers in our region going down, that more likely we will see a loosening of some of the restrictions,” Ricca said.

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Flexibility is the key for planning pomp and circumstance in 2021.

Tony Aiello