Education, Latest News, Monongalia County

Graduation dates, times set for Mon’s three public high schools

Everybody knew it was coming, and when it did, the only thing to do was laugh — or go all deadpan, as Emma Williams did.

“This is extremely fitting for the Class of 2020,” the then-University High School senior said with nary a smile, as the rain pocked her mortarboard, and those of her classmates, during commencement.

That was the weather metaphor of a stormy pandemic spring, as Monongalia County’s three public high schools were trying to salvage some normalcy out of a school year that was anything but.

Across the Monongalia County school district this spring, things aren’t quite as COVID-heavy, through there is still uncertainty over the new variants of the virus.

The district is still on that same salvage mission.

A little more than half of the district’s student population is back in class, for five-day-a-week, in-person learning.

More and more teachers, employees and students are being vaccinated.

Sports teams are taking the court and field, although sometimes they have to sit out on quarantine, because of positive cases and contact tracing.

And once again, the district’s seniors are readying for commencement exercises modified a bit due to the coronavirus.

Ceremonies for University High, Morgantown High and Clay-Battelle will all be outdoor, socially distanced events on the football field at each school, with masking mandatory.

UHS will send its seniors forth at 7 p.m. May 21. Morgantown High’s commencement is at 10 a.m. the next day.

Sunday afternoon, May 23 is the day for the Cee-Bees sendoff on the Clay-Battelle football field in Blacksville. That program is set for 3 p.m.

All three schools will also livestream their exercises, which may be viewed at the Mon Schools website:

Each senior may bring four guests this year, Deputy Schools Superintendent Donna Talerico said.

That’s because of the increase of vaccinations and awareness, she said.

“We will have masks to hand out at each school,” the deputy superintendent said.

If this spring is better that last spring, she wants fall to be even better.

Once vaccines are approved for children ages 12-15, she said, that’s one shot closer to herd immunity and all those things — football, prom, assemblies — that make school what it is.

The district will continue its push for shots in arms through the summer, she said.

In the meantime, she said, graduation is the pressing event now.

“We just want to be able to celebrate with our kids,” she said.

Well, there’s that, and matters of meteorology, given the downpours that soaked the seniors of 2020.

AccuWeather is projecting somewhat sunny skies with highs in the 70s for all three graduation days — and Talerico said she’ll take that.

“I did put in a request for good weather,” she joked. “We’ll see.”

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