Ahousaht’s high school graduation celebration is adapting to restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic by holding the event outdoors. Pictured are last year's graduating class from the Flores Island community. (Denise Titian photo)
Despite no reports of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island for more than a month, Ahousaht leadership isn’t taking any chances with the safety of the community.
Ahousaht Education director Rebecca Atleo says that parents of the graduates have met to discuss options for a safe graduation celebration. She said that any plans for the celebration must be approved by Ahousaht’s Emergency Operations Centre, leadership and Island Health.
With a provincial state of emergency still in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, conventional graduation ceremonies where graduates, friends and family fill the school gym is not possible. Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, had said that with no effective treatment for the virus, her March 17 order banning gatherings of more than 50 people remains in place.
For that reason, the community has had to come up with a new plan to celebrate their graduating class without putting them at risk. According to Maaqtusiis School principal Kate Drexler, plans are in the works and awaiting approval from community officials.
On June 16, Elected Chief Greg Louie stated in his daily update that Ahousaht elected councilor Sabrina Campbell has arranged a celebratory parade of graduates.
According to a flyer posted on social media, the Maaqtusiis Secondary School Class of 2020 will be celebrated with a car parade. This will allow residents to mark the momentous occasion while maintaining social distancing requirements. The flyer states that it will be a community celebration for all Maaqtusiis School graduates from pre-school to high school.
The parade will take place June 20 at 8:20 p.m. Graduates are invited to dress up and join a parade, where they will be cheered on by the community.
“It’s time to throw your caps up in the air,” reads the grad poster posted on social media.