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Norfolk Public Schools has outlined three possible graduation scenarios for seniors this summer depending on public health directives.

The board of education will make a decision on which graduation ceremony to move forward with on July 13, according to a district email to parents. 

"We want you to have as much of a traditional graduation ceremony as possible, but still keep you and your families safe and healthy," said Derek Ippensen, Norfolk High principal, in an email. "Due to things beyond our control, such as health restrictions, we also know there is a chance we may not be able to have a traditional ceremony."

The board of education will choose between a traditional, alternative or virtual graduation ceremony depending on what the state's social distancing guidelines are at the time. 

A traditional ceremony would take place at 2 p.m. on July 26 in the Norfolk High School gym and be broadcasted on News Channel Nebraska. Graduation rehearsal would be held at 10 a.m. on July 23.

Each graduate will receive six tickets for the events, with extras available. 

An alternative ceremony would consist of "multiple abbreviated ceremonies" on July 26 with a later broadcast to be released at 7 p.m. on News Channel Nebraska that would include the entire class of 2020.

Students in groups of 40 would still be able to walk across the stage in their cap and gown to receive their diplomas. All of the speeches, including those from the top three students, would be pre-recorded and would also be shared in an abbreviated form, according to the email.

There would be no graduation rehearsal and each student would receive four tickets for their ceremony. The ceremonies, going in alphabetical order, would be held hourly starting at 9 a.m.

The virtual graduation ceremony would consist of all the elements of the traditional ceremony pre-recorded, with full-length speeches from the top three students and other speakers, along with the names and photos of all graduating seniors.

No graduation practice or in-person ceremonies would be held. The virtual event would be broadcasted on News Channel Nebraska at 2 p.m. on July 26.

The board of education will make the decision on what ceremony to host based on a set of guidelines recommended from local health officials.

If all directed health measures have been removed, NPS will host a single, traditional graduation ceremony.

If measures allow for gatherings of 250 people, NPS will move to the alternative ceremony option. If the measures don't allow gatherings for that amount, the district will move to the virtual ceremony option.

"We know that the move to July for a graduation ceremony will create opportunities for celebrations for many of our students," Ippsensen said in the email. "We also realize that some students will be moving forward with their future plans and will be unable to join us on that day. To those students that cannot join us we wish you the very best and we will miss you."

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