christine stuart / ctnewsjunkie photo
Gov. Ned Lamont Wednesday at Farmington High School (christine stuart / ctnewsjunkie photo)

FARMINGTON, CT —Gov. Ned Lamont planned Wednesday to sign an executive order allowing in-person outdoor graduations of up to 150 people to be held after July 6.

“This may not be the graduation you expected but it will be one you will never forget,” Lamont said. “We are going to make it memorable.”

Without direction early on from the state, it meant towns like Farmington had to get creative. With a 2020 graduating class of close to 300 students, they had already arranged to hold the ceremony next week at the Farmington Polo Grounds where everyone will have to stay in their cars.

“There will be access to a large viewing screen and radio transmission,” Farmington Schools Superintendent Kathleen Greider said Wednesday at a press conference near the football field.

Like any graduation, there will be live speeches and the vehicle with the graduate will be allowed to drive up to receive the diploma.

Sia Goel, a senior at Farmington High School, said the numerous opportunities and the bonds they’ve built with peers and teachers will be “long-lasting.”

She said a car graduation will be “extremely special and extremely memorable.”

For car ceremonies the current guidance is windows must stay closed for cars parking immediately next to each other, but cars parked at least six feet apart can have their windows open as long as everyone in the car is wearing a mask.

But Lamont’s executive order breathes new life into previously scrapped plans in Derby.

Derby Superintendent Matt Conway said in Derby it means all 74 graduates will be able to be on the football field together for graduation—a tradition in that town.

“We owe it to them to deliver as great a graduation ceremony as possible that can best resemble what they dreamed about since kindergarten,” Conway said.

It’s still unclear how they will involve parents and loved ones since the limit is 150 people.

According to Lamont’s office, local school districts are being asked to contemplate a local approach that suits their respective communities. They are being asked to coordinate all activities with municipal officials, local law enforcement, first responders, and local health officials.

Lamont said the 150-person limit, as of July 6, may be extended to other kinds of gatherings, but no decision has been made yet.

The state is still grappling with the virus, but things are looking better based on the data the state released Wednesday.

Wednesday marked the first time the infection rate for COVID-19 was around 2%.

The number of infections increased by 112 and 5,824 tests were performed.

Over the past seven days Connecticut has performed 44,627 tests. The goal has been to test at least 42,000 residents per week.

CT COVID-19 Briefing: 4 p.m., Wednesday, June 3

Gov. Ned Lamont provided updates on the state’s coronavirus response efforts at a briefing in Farmington today, and he was joined by State Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona and Farmington Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Greider.

Posted by CTNewsJunkie on Wednesday, June 3, 2020