**** HEALTH/WELLNESS Media Release
Guidelines to Support Safe Community Celebration of Graduates
Communities will be able to celebrate their 2020 graduates this year, provided they are led by an established organization and follow public health guidelines to ensure celebrations are safe.
Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health for Nova Scotia, announced today, June 5, an exemption under the Public Health Act order to allow community organizations, businesses or municipalities to hold celebrations to recognize graduates due to the loss of traditional graduation ceremonies.
All public high schools in Nova Scotia will recognize and honour Grade 12 graduates receiving diplomas. This will be separate from any celebrations that might be held in the community.
All non-school based, community celebrations of graduates must be held by a recognized business, municipality or community organization (like a club, association, society, volunteer group, faith-based group), and the local municipality, police and fire departments and EHS must be informed and supportive of the planned event.
“Graduation ceremonies are an important tradition not only for the students who worked so hard to get there, but for their loved ones who supported them along the way,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “The class of 2020 is moving on from high school during a unique time and while their festivities will look different this year, there are ways to celebrate safely. Congratulations to all of the graduates of 2020. I know the last few months of school looked quite a bit different, but I hope you’re proud of all you’ve accomplished.”
“Living with COVID-19 continues to be a balance for us all. Unfortunately, students leaving school this year won’t have a traditional graduation ceremony or prom,” said Dr. Strang. “We want to support communities in recognizing these students, but it’s vital these celebrations are done safely, without risking the health of participants.”
Conditions under the exemption include:
— attendees must arrive in a vehicle
— all passengers in the vehicle must be from a single household or household bubble
— graduates can be out of their vehicle to do things like cross a stage or take part in a parade of graduates as long as physical distance (two metres or six feet) is maintained between all graduates while they are out of their vehicle
— organizers must communicate clearly with attendees in advance and ensure other public health protocols, like physical distancing, are followed
A full list of the conditions and protocols under this exemption can be found at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/community-celebration-graduates .
Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus
Government of Canada toll-free information line 1-833-784-4397
The Mental Health Provincial Crisis Line is available 24/7 to anyone experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis, or someone concerned about them, by calling 1-888-429-8167 (toll-free)
Kids Help Phone is available 24/7, by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free)
For help or information about domestic violence 24/7, call 1-855-225-0220 (toll-free)