Washougal High cancels in-person Aug. 8 graduation event

Governor has limited social gatherings due to statewide COVID-19 increases

Grace Jacobsen, one of four Washougal High School senior class valedictorians for the Class of 2020, delivers a speech during the school's virtual graduation ceremony on June 6. (Post-Record file photo)

Washougal High School has canceled plans to hold an Aug. 8 in-person graduation ceremony for Class of 2020 graduates at Fishback Stadium, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The school district posted notice of the canceled event on its Facebook page this week.

“When we advertised this event, we indicated that it would only take place if the pandemic was under control and restrictions on group gatherings were lifted,” the district stated in its post. “Based on the current trends and timeline for moving between phases of re-opening, it is very unlikely that Clark County (will) be in Phase 4 before Aug. 8.”

Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced new limits on social gatherings under the state’s phased reopening due to increased cases throughout Washington counties. The new “Safe Start” guidelines restrict gatherings of non-household members to five people under Phase 2 — Clark County’s current phase — and reduced gathering size from 50 people to 10 people in Phase 3.

“The steps are necessary to slow down the spread of COVID-19,” Inslee said during a July 16 press conference. “The unfortunate truth is that we can’t let our guard down, even as we engage in more activities.”

The new regulations went into effect on Monday, July 20.

The school district stated on Facebook that it had decided to cancel the August in-person graduation event due to the new restrictions on social gatherings.

Washougal High held a virtual graduation ceremony on June 6, and celebrated graduates with a car parade, sunset-viewing event and fireworks show.

“The class of 2020 (has) shown remarkable grit and determination in graduating in the face of significant challenges that have come up this year,” the Facebook post states. “We are incredibly proud of our graduates, and wish them the best as they look for ways to contribute to our society through careers, military service, trades or college.”

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