Southern Okanagan Secondary School in Oliver

Smaller class sizes mean high schools in Oliver, Osoyoos and Keremeos will be able to host semi-traditional graduation ceremonies, unlike the virtual editions planned for Penticton and Summerland.

School District 53 superintendent Bev Young said both Osoyoos Secondary School and Similkameen Elementary Secondary School have graduating classes of fewer than 50 students, which is the maximum group size permitted under current provincial health orders, so they are allowed to gather with precautions.

Osoyoos grads will cross the stage in the school’s theatre individually to receive their diploma and have their picture taken. Only family members of each individual student will be allowed to watch in person.

Students only will then congregate at a distance in the school’s gym. The entire affair will be professionally live-streamed to parents and the community.

In Keremeos, the Class of 2020 will gather in the SESS gym for a ceremony together, but with no audience. Instead, the event will be live-streamed to parents and the community.

Things are a little more complicated for Southern Okanagan Secondary School in Oliver, which has a graduating class of approximately 85 kids. They will be split into two groups for separate ceremonies, one outside and one in the atrium.

Parents will gather in small numbers in gyms and be called upon to watch their children cross the stage.

“We understand these are difficult times for graduates and certainly not what they envisioned for themselves,” Young said in an email.

“They really wanted to be together and, with our numbers, we can make this happen through careful organization and management of physical distancing and adhering to the health and safety protocols.”

Meanwhile, the three high schools to the north in School District 67 will all have virtual ceremonies due to their larger class sizes.

Grads in Penticton and Summerland will be filmed individually crossing a stage to accept their diplomas. The footage will then be stitched together with a voice-over to make it seem like one seamless event.