Although graduation usually occurs on June 1, Salmon School District Superintendent Chris Born said school board members pushed this year’s ceremony back because of the coronavirus.

The start of school was delayed last fall until Sept. 14, because of a high number of COVID-19 cases in Lemhi County at the time. That meant graduation had to be pushed a bit, too.

This year’s graduation ceremony should be pretty normal, he said. It’s set for 7 p.m. Friday, June 11 in the high school gym. To keep in line with the district’s extracurricular events plan for the pandemic, Born said only 300 people will be allowed to attend.

That’s about 40 percent of the gym’s capacity. Graduates will be given three to four tickets for friends and family they want to invite, Born said. This is similar to how district staff handled attendance at sporting events this year, and Born said that system seemed to work well.

Although he’s still hopeful the graduation ceremony can be moved to Salmon high’s new gym, the Nep and Mary Ellen Lynch Center, Born said it is unlikely. Construction volunteers are shooting to have it finished by the first of June, but Born said it will take a miracle to meet that deadline. However, Born said the progress volunteers have made on the construction project has been great.

The pandemic created challenges for the school year, according to Born, but the district pulled through. For the most part teachers and administrators were able to maintain face-to-face learning. Born was impressed by how most students wore face coverings and consistently kept them on.

Although the coronavirus made life difficult in certain regards, Born pointed out it came with bright spots. One of those was the outdoor graduation ceremony that replaced the traditional one last year, which Born said was more popular than anyone planned.

“The community said, ‘hey, that was awesome’ and wanted to bring it back,” Born said.

Planning to march the graduates in front of a crowd this year, Born said Salmon seniors will also get banners hung along Main Street. Last year was the first time Salmon graduates received that kind of recognition, and Born said this year’s class wanted it, too.

After the last couple of years Born said graduates have earned a little extra recognition. Born said the pandemic will have a lasting impact on the students as they move to the next phase of their lives.

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