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Regina high school student starts petition after grad plans cancelled at Mosaic Stadium

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WATCH: Regina Public Schools had been hoping to hold grad ceremonies at Mosaic Stadium to allow for proper physical distancing, but any dreams of an on-field ceremony are now dashed. Allison Bamford has more – Jun 10, 2021

A Grade 12 student at Campbell Collegiate is continuing to push to have his graduation ceremony at Mosaic Stadium despite current COVID-19 restrictions dashing those plans.

Cade Falconer started an online petition, calling on the provincial government and Regina Public Schools (RPS) to allow grad ceremonies at the stadium with more than 150 people present.

As of Tuesday, nearly 1,300 people signed Falconer’s petition.

“Many of us were looking forward to having a grad outside where we could see everyone again one more time,” Falconer said in the petition.

“We haven’t seen some of our classmates since Grade 11.”

RPS was working with Regina Exhibition Association Ltd. (REAL) to host high school graduation ceremonies at Mosaic Stadium, which would allow for physical distancing.

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But current provincial health restrictions limit public outdoor gatherings to 150 people until at least July 11.

In a statement, RPS called the outdoor gathering limit a “significant roadblock” to hosting the ceremonies as many schools have more than 150 graduates.

“We are disappointed that we could not provide our graduating students with once in a lifetime graduations at Mosaic Stadium,” the statement read, adding RPS respects the government’s decision in limiting gathering sizes during the pandemic.

RPS said restrictions also would not allow students to sit with each other, families would not be allowed to take close-up photos and paper diplomas would not be handed out — all elements that students wanted in the ceremony.

In an emailed statement, the provincial government said if schools that want larger graduation ceremonies can wait until Step 3 of the reopening plan, then there will be no restrictions on graduations.

“It is important we follow the steps in the Roadmap and be vigilant in following restrictions until we are able to re-open fully,” the statement said.

Falconer said he’s open to meeting with public health officials and the division to come up with a plan for graduation, even if that means postponing ceremonies until restrictions lift.

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“Please don’t let us remember our last year of high school as one of the worst years of our lives,” Falconer said.

“Please help us end it on a good note.”

RPS said it does not plan to postpone graduation.

All public high schools will organize and hold graduation ceremonies for students and families in June. Details for individual schools will be shared directly with students.

As for the Regina Catholic School Division (RCSD), a spokesperson said it never committed to graduation plans at Mosaic Stadium because the division didn’t want to risk possibly disappointing its students.

“We didn’t want to add one more thing that we didn’t know we could follow through on and so we never did plan that,” RCSD spokesperson Twylla West said.

“We made plans that we could adjust and hopefully make bigger and better as restrictions eased.”

According to West, grad ceremonies will look different at each of RCSD’s five high schools, but all of them will have virtual and in-person elements and students will get to walk across the stage.

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What each ceremony looks like will depend on the number of grads, family members and staff in attendance at each school.

“The number one most important thing is that we make sure they’re all done within the restrictions and as safely as we can deliver,” West said.

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