Polk high school graduation ceremonies to be held in June

All traditional Polk County high schools as well as Gause Academy, Fresh Start, East Area Adult, Polk Grad Academy, Polk Virtual School, Ridge Technical College, Traviss Technical College and West Area Adult will have their graduation ceremonies at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium in June.

A graduation schedule is available at polkschoolsfl.com/graduation and times will be announced as it gets closer to June.

"I’m absolutely thrilled we’re able to give this opportunity to our seniors and their families,” said Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd. “Like every senior class, the Class of 2020 has looked forward to graduation day for many years. By conducting the ceremonies at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, we will be able to give them the ceremony they deserve and have always wanted, while still abiding by social-distancing and health guidelines. We are so thankful to our partners at the City of Lakeland and the Detroit Tigers for helping to make this happen. I can’t wait to see the Class of 2020 on the field!”

Ceremonies will be live-streamed on the school district’s YouTube channel: youtube.com/polkcountypublicschools.

Polk County Public Schools, City of Lakeland and Detroit Tigers said they will take the following health precautions to ensure the safety of graduates, their guests and school district staff: 

-The Florida Department of Health is being consulted during the planning of graduation ceremonies.

-Temperatures will be checked as individuals enter the stadium. Anyone running a fever, including graduates, will not be allowed to attend or participate.

-Everyone will be required to wear a mask, including graduates. 

-Graduates will receive four tickets each. The tickets will include a seat number. Limiting the number of guests and assigning them to seats at least six feet apart will ensure social distancing. 

-The stadium, including seats, will be disinfected daily.

-Graduates will stand 6 feet apart during the ceremony. 

-There will be no handshakes. 

-Ceremonies will be condensed to approximately one hour to limit exposure. 

-Graduates, guests and staff members are being reminded that graduation ceremonies are not mandatory. Anyone who does not feel safe should not attend.