2021 | Schools

MCPS to allow more guests at high school graduations, lifts mask requirements for outdoor sports

Ceremonies scheduled between June 2 and 17

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As the county eases COVID-19 restrictions, Montgomery County Public Schools will allow high school graduates to invite more guests to their ceremonies.

In April, MCPS announced it will hold graduation ceremonies at high schools’ athletic stadiums, and that it had obtained a waiver from the county Department of Health to allow each graduate to invite two guests. At the time, there were restrictions in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, limiting venues’ capacity to 50%.

But, this week, as COVID-19 metrics continue to show progress and more than 60% of the county’s population has gotten at least one dose of a vaccine, restrictions have been eased. There is now no capacity limit at outdoor venues.

As a result, MCPS on Wednesday announced that graduates will be allowed to invite more guests. How many additional guests will depend on the size of each school’s graduating class and the stadium’s capacity limits.

Graduations will be held between June 2 and 17 at high schools’ athletic stadiums. All ceremonies will be held at either 9 a.m. or 6 p.m. to “avoid the heat of the day,” aside from ceremonies at MCPS’ three special schools.

Graduations at Rock Terrace, Stephen Knolls and Longview School will begin at 10 a.m.

In a message to community members on Wednesday night, MCPS wrote that fifth- and eighth-grade promotion ceremonies will still be held virtually, as previously planned, “to ensure the safety of students and staff.”

In its message, MCPS added that face coverings will no longer be required for student-athletes during outdoor practices and events, in line with updated county guidance. Spectators will not be required to wear masks at outdoor events.

Face coverings will still be required during indoor athletics practices and events, and during the school day and on school buses.

During events, social distancing “must occur to the extent possible, both indoors and outdoors” and the number of spectators “may be limited, if social distancing cannot be maintained,” according to a separate message sent to families on Wednesday night from the MCPS athletics department. Conditioning and the use of schools’ weight rooms will resume on June 1, the message said.

All fees for admission to contests will be waived through June 5.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com