This post was published on 05/26/2021.
Land O’ Lakes, FL – (May 26, 2021) – High school graduates in Pasco County will be allowed to invite additional guests and family members to outdoor graduations, and social distancing at the events will no longer be required. The elimination of the limitations and restrictions announced Wednesday comes after a review of COVID-19 data in schools and in the community.
The mask requirement remains in place for indoor graduations. Pasco County high school graduations begin this week, with one indoor graduation tonight and a second indoor graduation on Thursday night. Most of the graduations will take place outdoors in stadiums next week.
Until Wednesday’s announcement, high school graduates in Pasco had been limited to four guests each. Now graduates will be allowed to have two guests join them seated on the field, with additional guests seated in the bleachers. Graduates and their families are asked to be aware that the availability of seating will vary due to the size of the venue.
After reviewing data from the Pasco Department of Health and in light of the CDC’s recent relaxing of mask guidance, Superintendent Kurt Browning determined that the potential for harm has been greatly reduced in recent weeks. (Pasco’s seven-day positivity rate recently declined to 4.6 percent, the lowest rate in nearly six months.)
“It was our goal all along to make the graduation ceremonies as normal as possible, while recognizing our responsibility to protect the health and safety of all the graduates and guests,” said Superintendent Browning. “A lot has changed in recent weeks, and at this time we are confident that it is safe to remove those restrictions for our outdoor graduations.”
Pasco County Schools had made arrangements for graduations to be held at the Yuengling Center at the University of South Florida. USF canceled those plans months ago when it appeared highly unlikely that it would be safe to hold an indoor event with a large number of participants. The school district then made plans for in-person graduations in stadiums.