Plans for a traditional graduation ceremony at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School this month may be foiled by public health orders, especially as COVID-19 cases continue to climb. 

Meanwhile, Allan Hancock College, which also delayed the end-of-the-school-year commencement ceremony, has released tentative details about an August commencement.

On Thursday, Santa Ynez district Superintendent Scott Cory provided an update regarding the planned July 24 ceremony for the Pirates class of 2020.

After surveying parents and students before the end of the year, school leaders decided to delay the graduation ceremony in hopes of still holding an in-person event.

However, a Santa Barbara County public health order, issued June 12 and effective until at least July 12, does not allow a ceremony unless participants remain in vehicles because of social-distancing requirements.

“This is not what we want to do for our seniors as our desire is to be able to provide a traditional ceremony on the football field with graduates in chairs and with family members and friends in the bleachers,” Cory wrote in a letter to class of 2020 parents and graduates.

A new order will be issued by July 12, and if it eases restrictions, the district remains ready to host a July 24 ceremony, according to Cory.

“If the new order extends the current restrictions, the ceremony will unfortunately be canceled with no rescheduling of the event due to ongoing uncertainty of the future,” Cory said. “It pains me to even type these words, but I remain hopeful that we can gather together to celebrate in a way that our seniors deserve.”

The county has reported a continuing increase in cases, leading to some renewed restrictions, including closure of bars and in-restaurant eating.

While the Pirates class of 2020 did not hold a graduation ceremony, they did participate in a vehicle parade through the Santa Ynez Valley as community members gathered to cheer their accomplishments. The parade ended at the campus football field, where graduates had a photo opportunity on a stage.

Most of the other schools in the county held drive-through graduation ceremonies, while a couple with smaller classes did drive-in ceremonies.

Details for another delayed graduation also have been revealed.

Allan Hancock College recently announced plans for its delayed graduation ceremony, now planned for Aug. 12.

“This unique graduation program will feature a combination in-person, on-stage and live-streamed events for the ceremony,” Hancock officials said. 

Students will be able to walk across the stage to receive their diploma and take an official photograph, according to commencement plans.

“Hancock will hold this ceremony at multiple times during the day and enforce strict social distancing guidelines to ensure the health and safety of all graduates and their families,” according to the college.

Hancock graduates who want to participate should make reservations by July 10, with the link available by clicking here.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.