Whether PUSD seniors will have a traditional graduation or another type of event is yet to be decided in the wake of impacts to local schools from this spring’s pandemic caused by the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. Photo by Roni Java

COVID-19 virus disrupts plans, events for local 2020 graduates

At this point in the life of a typical high school senior, midterms would almost be a dim memory, finals too far off to worry about and a good case of “senioritis” would be starting to settle in.

Have they ordered their caps and gowns? Who’s going to sign whose yearbooks? Will there be a senior ditch day? When will those college acceptance letters arrive? These are the things that usually try a graduate’s patience in the last few months of high school.

Not so now that the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has caused a number of lost school days and disrupted the best laid plans of Plumas County’s 12th graders.

Counselors are available

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While the Plumas Unified School District (PUSD) grapples with lost school days and ramps up with distance learning offerings, another priority emerging out of the pandemic response is how to help seniors with their own mountains of interrupted plans, graduation requirements, college testing delays, scholarship applications and so much more.

Students and families have been advised that yes, high school counselors are available during the current campus shutdowns. Take advantage of them.

“All of our support staff are available, including counselors by appointment, to discuss transcripts, credits, grades, schedules and social-emotional needs or concerns,” Kristy Warren, PUSD Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, announced March 25 in an advisory that went to all students and families districtwide.

“As disruptive as the COVID-19 pandemic has been, our core values of Explore, Learn, and Thrive continue to guide our discussions as we adapt to this rapidly changing crisis,” she stated.

More details coming soon

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PUSD Superintendent Terry Oestreich said these and other issues are currently in discussion at the district and high school levels. More details will be released soon. She thanked students and their families for patience and understanding while these matters are sorted out and addressed.

Keep applying for scholarships

Warren is also currently serving as interim principal of Quincy Junior-Senior High School and she encouraged seniors to continue applying for college scholarships. She recommended students check their school’s weekly newsletter and watch for the ‘Counselor Corner’ of each school’s website for additional information.

Will seniors be able to graduate?

The school district anticipates that yes, seniors will graduate. However, many things are up in the air at this time.

The current site closure of local schools leaves a great deal of work to be done to sort out and solve all of the issues coming about.

PUSD’s recent message to families emphasized that many options were being considered “and the length of our closure will determine our eventual outcome. If we are unable to do traditional graduation ceremonies, we will work with our seniors, parents and teachers to consider what experience can safely be done.”

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What about senior projects?

PUSD’s position in late March was that seniors should expect to complete their senior project and coursework, following the supplemental distance learning provided now and any modifications needed due to the school site closures.

At that time, the district advised students to not be in physical contact with their mentors or job shadows, but they should be in contact via phone or video conferencing. Students were also directed to contact their Business and Finance teacher to discuss individual concerns regarding senior projects. Options for presentations, such as video conferencing, are still under discussion.

How to receive a work permit

Students should contact Wendi James at the school district office to request a work permit, 283-6500,  [email protected].

What about other activities such as prom, senior awards night and Sober Grad?

School sites, committees and volunteers have been asked to develop alternate plans for these events in case they are needed. More information on these and issues impacting graduating seniors will be forthcoming from the district as they become available.

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