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Pasco changes high school graduation plans

The ceremonies will move to school campuses instead of USF's Yuengling Center.

Pasco County’s high school graduation celebrations are on the move again.

The events, which had been set for mid-August inside the USF Yuengling Center, are now on tap for middle to late July outdoors at local campuses instead.

District officials began negotiating for the change after learning that the university would not hold its own commencement activities inside the basketball arena. It soon became clear that the center could not accommodate Pasco’s graduations, either, because of health concerns related to the spread of COVID-19.

“We are moving to Plan C for graduation,” district spokesman Steve Hegarty said.

With the exception of Gulf High School, where the stadium is under construction, each of the schools will hold their events at their own football fields using social distancing procedures. Gulf will have its celebration at Mitchell High.

A couple of smaller schools will hold graduation indoors.

To keep the activities manageable, the schools will limit each graduate to two guests. The families will be seated together, and kept about six feet apart from one another.

Officials said this model will allow students to get together for the event that they wanted, and let them get their individual recognition, while heeding the health issues that remain.

Before COVID-19, the graduations were supposed to take place beginning in late May. Instead, the schools and communities have offered other ways to honor the Class of 2020, including virtual ceremonies and car parades, but not the “real” commencement that many seniors wanted.

The new schedule is:

Friday, July 17: Fivay High School, 7:30 p.m., FHS Stadium • Zephyrhills High School, 7:30 p.m., ZHS Stadium • Wesley Chapel High School, 7:30 p.m., WCHS Stadium

Saturday, July 18: Land O’Lakes High School, 8 p.m., LOLHS Stadium

Monday, July 20: Pasco eSchool, 7:30 p.m., Crews Lake MS Cafeteria

Wednesday, July 22: Sun Lake High School, 8:30 a.m., SLHS Stadium • Wendell Krinn Technical High School, 6 p.m., WKTHS Gymnasium

Friday, July 24: Cypress Creek High School, 7:30 p.m., CCHS Stadium • JW Mitchell High School, 7:30 p.m., JWMHS Stadium • Pasco High School, 7:30 p.m., PHS Stadium

Saturday, July 25: Gulf High School, 9 a.m., JW Mitchell Stadium

Wednesday, July 29: Marchman Technical College, 7:30 p.m., WKTHS Stadium

Friday, July 31: River Ridge High School, 7:30 p.m., RRHS Stadium • Anclote High School, 7:30 p.m., AHS Stadium • Hudson High School, 7:30 p.m., HHS Stadium • Wiregrass Ranch High School, 7:30 p.m., WRHS

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