Graduation season is here once again. But unlike in the previous year, this time, it is a face-to-face activity amid the Covid-19 threat. Physical graduation is allowed by the Department of Education in the areas under Alert Level 1 and 2, with the consultation of local government units and Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases with strict compliance to health safety protocol and standards.

It means that wearing of face masks and observance of social distancing are still very much required. The limited face-to-face classes extend to limited audiences and participants during graduation. Only the completers, parents/guardians, teachers, school officials and guests shall be present during the ceremony.

Many are excited to join the scheduled graduation from July 4 to 9 in public schools nationwide. Both teachers and students are happy to conduct the activity to be witnessed and attended by supportive parents.

So what is graduation like in pandemic times? Because of economic and health crises, it will be a simple, solemn and a safe school activity.

Simplicity to the activity means no extravagant decorations and lavish preparations.

Monetary contributions from parents and students are not allowed. A short program is designed without long talks and speeches by guests, honored students and politicians, unlike the traditional ways. The singing of a graduation song is even optional.

The solemnity of the ceremony is observed because it is a formal occasion. Even if it is a joyful moment for many graduates, talking, yelling, shouting, loud music and dancing are highly discouraged. Graduation parties and family celebrations can be done exclusively at home after the ceremony but not in school.

Safety measures from the start, during, and until the end of the program must be observed. School personnel will conduct a temperature check, impose wearing of face masks and apply hygienic solutions to participants at the entrance. They will also enforce social distancing during the activity. Shaking of hands and hugging are not allowed. Removal of face masks is discouraged because there are still so many unvaccinated students in public and private schools.

Physical graduation is a more meaningful experience than a virtual ceremony. The theme of the Department of Education graduation rites is: “K to 12 Graduates: Pursuing Dreams and Fostering Resilience in the Face of Adversity.”