Meade School Board decides to stick with ‘drive-thru’ graduation plan

STURGIS, S.D. (KBHB) – The Meade 46-1 School Board decided last night to keep graduation for Sturgis Brown High School on May 17 at 2 p.m. and to stick with an administration plan for a ‘drive-thru’ type ceremony.

Some parents and students had proposed an alternative plan to hold a ceremony at Woodle Field, but several board members had concerns with social distancing and following Centers for Disease Control guidelines due to the COVID-19 situation.

A vote to incorporate the Woodle Field ended in a 4-4 tie, but failed by rule according to the Board Chairman, Dennis Chowan’s no vote.

Superintendent Jeff Simmons says this is such an emotional issue, but recommended the board follow the administration’s plan.

The administration’s plan is to hold the ceremony at the Sturgis Brown High School parking lot. Students would be required to remain in their vehicles until being called to a stage where they would exit their vehicle to receive their graduation folder and then return.

Principal Pete Wilson says they have worked hard on finding a way to make a graduation ceremony safe for everyone.

Wilson says he wants to have the graduation ceremony sooner, rather than later like many other schools, due to the uncertainty with this virus.

He says the ceremony proceedings will be conducted following C.D.C. and Department of Health guidelines. Along with social distancing and physical spacing, school leaders and volunteers will be provided with masks that will be worn during the ceremony.

After the ceremony, administrators are also planning a parade through Sturgis – much like the teacher parade that was held in April, in which parade participants were in their cars and spectators practice social distancing along the parade route.