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Rowan-Salisbury Schools lifts COVID-19 restrictions for outdoor graduations

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 2:17 PM EDT
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ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Restrictions have now been lifted for graduation ceremonies at all Rowan-Salisbury Schools. Graduating seniors will be able to bring as many family members as they like, and masks will not be required.

Last year many graduation ceremonies were drive thru like the one at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Cabarrus County Schools. This week, Rowan-Salisbury Schools made the decision to lift restrictions for outdoor graduations in the football stadium of each high school. The Rowan County Early College and Henderson Independent High School graduations will be held on alternate dates.

“It’s good to know that those who want to come can come,” said Amir Watkins, a senior at North Rowan High School. “To me, I’m excited. It’s an opportunity for the family members to experience a great moment.”

Watkins will graduate from North Rowan High on May 29, and he’ll also be a speaker, hoping to inspire his fellow graduates.

“Seeing that everything is opening up you have bounce back from everything that we couldn’t do, this is the opportunity to take advantage of what we have now,” Watkins said.

“We lifted the restrictions on graduation to make sure that we are consistent with the Governor’s revised executive order and we’re quite frankly happy that more of our families will be able to attend our graduation ceremonies this year,” said Rowan-Salisbury Schools Superintendent Dr. Tony Watlington.

Dr. Watlington is the superintendent and he’s in his first year with Rowan-Salisbury. He said he had been hopeful that the graduations could be held without restrictions, but had to wait for the science to catch up.

“We had been hoping for a long time for the science to get to a place where we could invite more families to come to graduations,” Watlington added. “Kids only get one chance to walk across that stage and be celebrated by their families. I’m just so happy for our Rowan-Salisbury seniors to have their families participate in this very special day.”

For now, masks are still required inside the school buildings and central offices in Rowan-Salisbury Schools. The 2021 graduations will be held at 8 a.m. and are still subject to any changes that could come in state guidelines.

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