CUMMING, Ga. — With some adjustments for social distancing, the class of 2021 for Forsyth County Schools will have traditional graduation ceremonies this month as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

Graduations for the district’s seven high schools will take place at the Infinite Energy Arena in Gwinnett County between May 23-25. There are about 3,700 seniors in the class of 2021.

Last year’s graduation ceremonies were disrupted by a spike in COVID cases in late spring and summer, which delayed ceremonies till July. Even then, large gatherings were not allowed under the governor’s executive order, significantly limiting the number who could attend in person.

A spokeswoman for Forsyth County Schools said this year, social distancing rules remain in place at the venue, but the capacity is higher. Last month Gov. Brian Kemp lifted the executive orders on large gatherings, but private facilities are still free to set their own capacity.

“We did increase the number of tickets per school based on the new executive orders,” said Jennifer Caracciolo, director of communications for Forsyth County Schools. “[Most] high schools have increased from 2,688 [maximum last year] to 4,500 capacity, so that is 6 to 7 tickets per graduate.”

This year, Forsyth County Schools will not conduct a separate virtual graduation as it did last year for students and families that opted out of the live graduation.

“Students that select to graduate virtually will watch the face-to-face ceremony live, and will have their names read with a photo appearing in the arena,” Caracciolo said.

All ceremonies will be live streamed and recorded.

Candy Waylock is an award winning education reporter who has covered all things education for Appen Media over the past 20 years. She is an Alpharetta resident.

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