SHS’s Kelley: Lack of compliance calls events into question

SHS’s Kelley: Lack of compliance calls events into question

SMITHFIELD – Smithfield High School Principal Dan Kelley said students did not adhere to social distancing requirements during an evening to honor the Class of 2020 seniors last week, raising questions about events for the rest of the year.

Kelley said that at last Friday’s “Be the Light” campaign, where the school illuminated the football field to honor senior athletes, many of the 35 students in attendance did not follow distancing guidelines and did not wear masks.

According to Kelley, there are 175 cases of COVID-19 in Smithfield, and he does not want to see the number rise.

Graduation ceremonies for Smithfield High School will be pre-recorded this week and put on the high school’s YouTube channel to air during the scheduled graduation date of June 9 at 7 p.m. Those ceremonies were already planned to be held online prior to last Friday’s events.

Kelley said the graduation will include speeches from students, honored guests and administrators. The SHS band will play pomp and circumstance, and the chorus is pulling together music from home to be edited into a cohesive piece.

Kelley said each of the 194 graduates will be filmed walking across the stage while their name is called.

“Essentially, all components of our traditional commencement ceremony will be pre-recorded and pieced together to form one, well-produced virtual graduation,” he said.

The commencement video will remain online once posted to YouTube.

The decision to host graduation on SHS’s website was best for the school, said Kelley.

“We’re going with what we know and what we’re comfortable with,” he said.

Due to social distancing, Kelley said senior prom is also canceled this year, as well. He said he hoped to create an event at the end of June, but that won’t be possible due to ongoing limits on large gatherings.

“Every decision we make regarding activities for the Class of 2020 will be driven by the safety of students and parents of Smithfield,” Kelley said.

The school will still host a top 10 virtual brunch on May 28 at 11 a.m. and senior honors night on June 2 at 7 p.m. Details for the senior send-off on June 4 are coming.

The senior class is beginning to plan an event for the fall, Kelley said, for either Thanksgiving or Christmas break. He said he is leaving it to the students to plan, as they will be returning from college then.

All students are being screened for risk factors before entering the building. Students will wear masks during their recordings, Kelley said.